🎵I see the moon

the moon sees me

God bless the moon

and God bless me 🎵

 

paint if you can the picture

on a moonlit and star studded night

four brothers running gleefully around a small compound in a suburb in Lagos Nigeria

looking up at the sky

chanting breathlessly

without a care in the world

but the dinner dishes left unwashed in the kitchen sink

 

the ‘I see the moon’ chant was a chant we sung

as we tried to outrun the moon

it was one of me and brothers’ favorite past times on days when the power was out

when there was no TV to keep us occupied or homework to give us headaches

 

we’d go outside into our moonlit compound

and try to outrun the moon

but no matter how fast or far we ran

the moon always seemed to be at the same position in the sky

 

as I got older I understood why the moon didn’t move

And the magic and wonder was gone

yet I still look back at those days with such nostalgia

especially on days so filled with smog that I couldn’t see the moon

And the moon couldn’t see me

 

on days when we weren’t running and chanting

we’d share moon light stories

stories of good and evil

stories like ‘How the tortoise cracked its shell’

we’d plan ways to sneak into the compound next to ours to climb that mango tree

the one decorated with loosely hanging ripe red green mangoes

 

we never did climb that tree but whenever we did eat mangoes we’d eat them whole:

skin and flesh

mum encouraged us to eat the skin because it had a chemical called quinine

and quinine combats malaria

that way we wouldn’t have to take the nasty malaria pills

or go get expensive injections

 

fast forward to the day a few years back when a friend saw me devouring a mango:

skin and flesh

she told me not to do that because the skin must have so many harmful chemical residues from fertilizers and pesticides

that moment still stays with me

the world is changing

and a certain kind of magic was fading

 

I often reflect on these experiences

and think of what life must be like for kids growing up now

and what life would be like for generations to come

 

it seems there will be less nature and more technology

less blue skies and more smoggier days

less exposure to the magic that nature holds

 

I think it’s easy to feel helpless and like we can’t really make a difference

but I realize that that isn’t true and I make a conscious effort it my daily life to reduce my carbon footprints

I try to eat less or no beef: which is the meat that harms the environment the most:

I try to reuse bags, ride a bike, because the little things do count.

 

and on every clear night sky when I can see the moon

I try to take a moment and be grateful

as I reminsce on my childhood

watching the moon

as it watches me too