Although I wasn’t yet born when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first bounced along the surface of the moon, the story was enough a part of our family’s lore that my memory often tricks me into believing I witnessed it.
Like just about everyone else in the world with access to a television, my parents tuned in from their living room to watch the feat of science and technology unfold. And like just about everyone else, what they saw on July 20, 1969, seemed like nothing less than a modern-day miracle.
But then, another miracle for new parents: just as Armstrong took his first steps on the moon, their baby girl, my sister — then 13 months — also took her first steps here on Earth. In our family, two giant leaps were taken that day.
Fifty years have passed since the moment when the moon went from being a wondrous feature of the night sky to something we could reach, touch and study first-hand. To celebrate this anniversary, David Wilson examines the Apollo 11 mission and how our ideas about our closest celestial neighbour have changed. As he eloquently writes, “The moon has figured into mysticism, mythology and religion since humans first began trying to make sense of their place in the order of things.…Every person who has ever lived has a relationship with it.”
While our ancestors were much more attuned to the moon phases than we are, I find it awe-inspiring that people of faith continue to use the moon’s orbit to drive the dates of religious holy days like Easter, Passover and Ramadan — honouring traditions that are hundreds and thousands of years old.
I’m also inspired by this month’s cover package: “10 Spiritual Road Trips.” We’ve compiled this list of easy-to-reach wonders right here in Canada — places that welcome visitors to drop by for tours, a contemplative afternoon or perhaps a glimpse of the divine. Our selection of destinations spans the whole country, reflects several world religions and First Nations spiritual traditions in addition to Christianity, and features stunning architecture, healing waters and natural phenomena.
Revisiting one of these destinations, the northern lights, is on my wish list this summer. I first saw their otherworldly glow one spring night more than two decades ago in Dawson City, Yukon. The sight was short-lived; within weeks of my arrival, the midnight sun made it impossible to view the ethereal dance.
Even if you can’t reach any of our spiritual sites, I hope you find some soulful destinations of your own: a sunrise dip in a cool lake; a quiet walk in the woods; a worship service away from home. Or just a clear evening, away from city lights, to gaze up at the moon and marvel at its exquisite creation.
This editorial first appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Broadview with the title “Inspiring moments.” For more of Broadview’s award-winning content, subscribe to the magazine today.