A couple of weeks ago, I came across this little gem of a film entitled Have You Ever Really Seen the Moon? The premise of this three-minute video is simple: a guy wheels his telescope out into the streets and neighborhoods of Los Angeles and invites people to look at the moon. The reactions restore faith in our ability to be awed.
“What is that, bro?” a guy on a bike asks.
“It’s a telescope,” says Overstreet. “Do you want to check out the moon?”
The offer is made over and over to a cross section of passersby in a cross section of places across greater L.A. And one by one, they put their eyes to the viewfinder and gaze upon what they’ve looked at a million times yet never seen.
Interestingly, Overstreet and Gorosh show us very little of the actual moon. No, what holds your eyes, and lifts your soul is the way these different people in different neighborhoods all respond in precisely the same way — with gasps and shouts and whispers of naked wonder at the sudden nearness of lunar soil.
. . .
“I’m looking at the moon,” says a young, cap-to-the-back white guy into his phone. “Hold on real quick.” Then he puts his eye to the viewfinder. “Oh, my God,” he says.
“Oh. My. God,” breathes a black man in a hoodie.
“Oh, my God,” says a little kid, laughing.
“Oh, my God,” says a guy with a mane of gray hair.
“Oh!” says a woman, as if startled. “Oh, my God.”
There is something quietly profound in their awe, something that stirs you somewhere deep within like a light breeze moving among tall grass.”
Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. captured the essence of this work in a recent piece. In viewing the movie and reading this column, I was reminded of how — back in the pre-smartphone days — preservationists would tell their fellow citizens to “look up” at the buildings along Main Street to see beyond the (often altered) storefronts. Even then we would get so absorbed in our own tunnel vision that we’d forget to see what past generations had built and the possibilities those buildings had for today and tomorrow. That tunnel vision has increased exponentially with smartphones, where so many have all but stopped looking beyond that small screen as they walk through a downtown or in a beautiful natural setting. Have You Ever Really Seen the Moon should remind us of the wonder around us. Stop, look up, and take some of it in.
Have a good week.
More to come…