Of Moons and Monkeys

-- Paul S. Hetrick

Last night I went out for a short walk before I went to bed, It's a common thing for me to do. I noticed that a gap in the clouds was drifting towards the shrouded moon and waited for the image of the full moon to appear. It was a beautiful sight and I stood looking at it for a few moments until a strained neck forced me to look down. I then saw the reflection of the moon in a puddle in the driveway. It was, in it's own way as beautiful as looking up. I thought of all of the times I've read Zen masters referring to our grasping as being like a monkey that tries to take hold of the moon's reflection in water.

I knelt for a closer look. I thought the reflection in the puddle of the moon and leafless trees would make a good photograph. I enjoy making pictures that make the viewer think. On of my favorite pictures I've taken is trees reflecting in a still lake. I tend to hang it upside-down just to watch people figure out what's not right with it. The image of the moon and trees with a few minor distortions from pebbles in the puddle would have been the same.

I stood up and while reviewing what film and cameras I have on hand and trying to decide which combination would work best I noticed the clouds returning to again hide the moon.

For a brief moment I was saddened by the loss of the image I would never be able to share. This regret was quickly replaced by the laughter caused be realizing that the only difference between the monkeys and myself is that I kept my fingers dry.


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