A beautiful day (with a little moonlight) on Mars


Part 25 of the 64-part series called "moon photos"

There’s a certain spartan beauty to it. I say spartan, adj, of
or relating to Sparta, ancient Greek city-state on the banks
of the Eurotas, wide and beautiful, and on Mars, dry. I’m reminded of Mars,
too, ancient Greek god of war and other things, but mostly war,
at least in the popular, American I mean, conception. It’s possible
I only mean my conception. I’m not in anyone else’s head.
But Mars. Mars, great red planet, or rather tiny red planet, since Jupiter
is also red and is much larger. So Mars, red planet, twin-mooned,
has a certain beauty that is (a) spare and (b) reminds one (by which,
of course, I mean me) of an imagined city-state of ancient Greece, which
coincidentally is the ideological, as well as, in a certain manner of
speaking, the physical home (of course, I’m talking about Olympus, birth-
place, or at least dining-room, of the gods in Greek mythology, of which
pantheon Mars, the god, not the planet, is a part) of, as mentioned
parenthetically, Mars. Of course, Mars is, in the popular American conception,
also the name of a candy company, but I’m not sure of the connection there.
Yes, the day on Mars is beautiful. You (by which I mean I; if
it were you, I wouldn’t be writing this down, you would, or might be) can
see the twin moons, Phobos and Deimos, glinting in the wan sunlight.
You’re lighter here than on Earth, so you’re grateful there’s little wind.
You’re not sure how much it would take to blow you away, like
a leaf, or a newspaper, or something else similarly light and able to be
blown around by wind. Possibly a car, in a strong hurricane. Possibly
bracken, a tumbleweed, like in those old cartoons. You think of those now,
you can almost imagine an old tumbleweed blowing across this barren landscape.
You chalk that up to the fact that most images of Mars on television, at
least to your knowledge, are filmed in the types of places on Earth
that have tumbleweeds. You stand and watch the sun’s slow arc across the sky.
You walk back inside your tent, content that other ships are coming soon,
to relieve you of your terrible, moody, loquacious boredom. When was the last
time you heard from them? You can’t be sure. You’re sure they’re just late.