The side of the mood we never see, known to some as the far side, others as the dark side, is nearly the same as the near side, the side forever facing us. There are fewer maria planes on the far side (those dark splotches that look like seas), but the rest is identical: craters, grey rocks, dust, desolation. The Chinese recently took a photo of the far side, and it looks like the unadorned, pockmarked face of an old friend. Utterly forgettable were it not for Earth, the tiny blue disc in the corner.

Interest should end there for the layman. The far side holds no secrets, perhaps is even less secretive than the near side, who has appeared in our night sky since eternity, daring us to interpret its meaning, subduing us with its power over our tides and cycles. In reality, of course, interest does not end there for the layman (we always want to know more, especially about that which is impossible to know), and we dream about the far side, concocting stories about alien bases, government secrets, perpetual darkness, untold legends.

Unfortunately, none of this is true. The far side is empty, and, because the moon rotates at the same rate as Earth (we are stuck with the side we have through either symbiosis or coincidence), we can rest assured the far side gets its fair share of sunlight. In fact, it gets an even purer form of sunlight, unshielded as it is by any planet, thus the surface of the far side is bathed by a particular type of helium that exists in a finite state back at home. Because of this, the far side may not be lonely for long.

When that happens, the far side may be once again worthy of our attention—groups of engineers terraforming a moonscape is rife material for drama and intrigue. But until then, its

best to turn our minds away from the dark, unseen back of the moon, unless you have a thing for geological data, minute calculations of ridge heights, or other scientific extrapolations, for aside from those human scales of measurement, the moon, the rocky sentry of our sky, offers nothing: no insights, no wonder, no true knowledge.

How the moon was born, we have no idea. The ruling theory holds that a smaller planet struck our young Earth, and the moon was formed from the collective debris. Whether or not this actually happened is impossible to prove, but if it did, it’s equally impossible to fathom—the moon may just as well have formed spontaneously, or split off from the Earth like a duplicating cell, or bequeathed as a gift by some celestial emissary, for that is how distant the moon is to our planetary lives, that is how foreign it is, that is how little the moon wants with us despite our feckless attempts to claim it as our own in our myths, our symbols, our religions, and in our modern imprints, with scientists naming the lunar mare, those false seas, after our states of mind, leaving the moon awash with oceans of tranquility, cleverness, fecundity, and even crises, these names the latest marks of symbol and representation by our ambitious kind.

What we say about the moon—what features we prescribe to it—is infinitely more meaningful than the moon itself, which, in the end, is nothing more than a bundle of craters, grey rocks, dust, and desolation, a territory of facts and data that never dreamt of being visited by tiny beings as it lethargically circled our planet, a blank, apathetic eye. Yet, though the moon never asked for such, it cannot resist interpretation. It is a constant, unknowable thing that looms over each of us. Whether one thinks it is good or bad or meaningless, it is there either way, forever unchanging.

The moon, specifically the near side, is like death in this way: a confident end that hangs above our heads whether we like it or not, a scythe aiming for our neck regardless of what we make of it. The far side, then, is the funeral: something we are not meant to see, an event that brings a sense of closure or wholeness to our death, but an event that nonetheless takes place outside of our life—it happens at the other end. We cannot ensure we have a funeral (even if we plan and set aside our money for it, who’s to say those wishes will be followed?), but we live with the slumbering belief that it will happen, that those we leave behind will take the necessary steps.

Either way, we’ll be long gone. Our funerals will take place in a timeline that, for us, will be entirely empty, the only traces that remain will be the light palimpsests of our former selves—our memories, our photographs, our impacts, our cleverness, our crises. What others make of it will be for them to decide, but, like our interpretations of the moon, other’s understanding of our lives will show more of themselves than it does of us: their culture, their frames of understanding the world, their grasp of the unfathomable notion that the dead, too, will not be lonely for long. No matter what they conclude, nothing will negate the fact that we existed, whether anyone saw us or not.