Given the current culture of fixation on zombies and vampires and the multi-billion dollar industries associated therewith, I’m guessing there are a lot of people, especially those half my age or less, who can’t see a full moon without thinking about things that go bump in the night. In the same way that Stephen King ruined us on clowns, Twilight and The Walking Dead and a bunch of other such things have soiled the full moon.
In fairness, we had Dracula and Frankenstein over a half-century ago and plenty of other movies, books, magazines and such that certainly provoked the shadowy side of human fear and fascination with monsters. If there was any lack whatsoever, we often made up for it with our own imagination. Whether it’s ghosts in the closets or wolves under the bed, most of us had to struggle with dread of some fashion or another.
Maybe it’s an ancient fear of darkness and danger that is so deeply rooted in our nature as to be genetic. Stir that into the mix of the quasi-sadistic pleasure that adults take in frightening children and it seems quite unlikely that the horror genre in literature and film is likely to fade from the earth. I will do my small quixotic part, though.
Like taking my grandkids for walks on a moonlit night, showing them how a gravel road lights up in the glow of the moon. Like pointing out to them how even a quarter moon can show the shape of the land on a clear night. I’ll remind them of how the lesser light that rules the night can be incredibly bright on the snow. And I’ll tell them, too, that the shining of the moon is testimony that the sun is still shining on the opposite side of our planet.
It might do nothing to take away the fears stirred by all the other, but it could at least provide a bit of balance. And something to someday share with their grandkids. A man could do worse than help his descendants see that there is beauty even in the midst of darkness.