Last Year and Today….a combined story from early 2019 and early 2021, with some thinking in between.

Watching the movie “First Man” yesterday about Neil Armstrong’s life, and about America putting men on the moon was a stark reminder of where we have been as a country, as opposed to where we are now.

The strength, resolve and focus that we had as a country to go to the moon…to beat the Russians in our space program, was something which inspired and united us as a people. I know there were a few detractors who protested about the money being spent on that program, and that protest was addressed in the movie.

Overall though, it was a matter of togetherness that included most Americans. Was there a black astronaut at first? A woman? No there was not. I do firmly believe however, that the overall encompassing reach of the program, on all levels…not just the men who composed the crews, led to more inclusion, faster than in other areas of our countries culture.

I know that as far as me personally, the space program was a part of my childhood, which I cannot separate from my psyche. It was an excitement, and an interest from the days of Sputnik and Telstar, all the way through the Mercury program, with pictures of Alan Shepherd and John Glenn taped to the headboard of my bed, right next to JFK’s and RFK’s. It continued through Gemini, with all its tragic deaths….finally into the Apollo program. My favorite photo of all time was from Apollo 8, the first photo of our beautiful blue marble hanging out there in space, like the last gorgeous Christmas ornament hanging lonely but divine on the tree being taken down for the year.

I think perhaps my somewhat obsessive need to photograph the moon, and watch the skies, stems from my childhood wonder with putting men into outer space.

Paula and I were more amazed than ever before about our ability as human beings to do such hard and complicated things with such “primitive” equipment.  Now that we have increased our technical knowledge so exponentially we should be able to perform miracles.  Maybe, we have indeed done so already in our creation of two new “types” of vaccines which we have never had before for this deadly disease which is disrupting our world and killing so many people.  Such brilliant technology for use here on Earth, inside the “outer space of our inner bodies”

I hope all of this will one day lead to our exploration of our Universe.  I hope mankind can get past our unsavory nature and evolve into people who can love and respect each other.  Can we get past the point where we want to kill each other and focus all of that energy on loving each other?  If we can ever do that, there’s no limit to the miracles we can create.

Dozing off in the Light of the West

I love the sunlight coming from the West. I’m not really totally sure of the reasons. It could be that my bedroom window in my parent’s house on 9th Street was facing the West. A lot of times as a kid, I’d come home from school and lay on my bed to do my homework. Sometimes I’d drift off to sleep, with the soft low light seeping in through that window, like some syrupy sleep potion. I’d dream sweet dreams about the future, about love, about sorrow. Wonderful dreams, none of which I now can remember. Fall naps on school days. Winter naps on weekends. Simmer was for fun, so there was no time for naps then. Fall sunshine was my favorite. After all the leaves had fallen. I remember being able to look out that high window by standing up on my mattress. I loved to watch the cool winds of Autumn blow through the giant Magnolia tree that grew just outside, and watch those huge brown leaves tumble. I loved those solitary minutes that I was able to steal, as the Western sum light filtered in through that window.

At at our old house on Elm street, our living room had one window which faced West. I used to sit in my recliner many days, especially after 2011 and doze off in the evenings and daydream. In the Fall when the sunshine was “just right” it gave me a feeling of comfort and sometimes even euphoria to have the sweet sunshine lull me. I know, it sounds crazy…but it’s true.

It never happened to me while we lived in Mom and Dad’s old house on 7th street…in the two years we lived there from 2009 to 2011. The windows just weren’t in the right position. I did take quite a few naps with baby Rue and baby Eli there though…..just like I’ve napped with Evie and Ellie since then.

Since we moved from the old house to our place here in Ringgold, I haven’t had as many episodes of the “western light daydreaming” as I used to. We’ve certainly got plenty of light coming from the West though. Especially during the late Fall through early spring, when the leaves are off the trees.  The setting sun comes in the window every day and bids me goodbye and goodnight.  Maybe I don’t daydream as much because I’m getting older.  Maybe it’s because I have just “used up” all of my good daydreams.  Whatever it is….I miss them and hope that one sweet day, I’ll be sitting here looking out to the West and start to doze off…..