Saturday, August 25, 2012

One Small Step...

It's funny...I seem to be thinking about the moon a lot lately.  For no good reason, last night while driving home I had this quote spring to mind:  "O, swear not by the moon, the fickle moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable."  (I'm not withholding juicy information here, I really don't know why I thought of this quote.)  Perhaps I was having some sort of psychic episode, because...

Neil Armstrong on the moon.
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died.  Whether you were around for the July 20, 1969 moon landing -- or whether you believe (as some do) that it was all a hoax and staged in Hollywood -- this man was a pioneer, sparking the imaginations of children and adults alike.  What would it be like to walk on another world?  To feel the effects of a different gravitational pull?  To discover a new landscape?  To see the universe, the stars, and even your home planet from a completely new perspective?  Surely such an experience could never be simply explained, but must be experienced to be understood.  Sadly, the first (and one of few) to walk on another world is no longer a part of ours.

The fact that we, as a species, successfully reached and walked upon the surface of the moon amazes me.  However, the fact that we have not done so again since 1972 (that's 40 years, people -- 10 years longer than I've been alive) -- or, for that matter, done so anywhere else saddens me.  "One small step for a man, one giant leap for a mankind."  It was not meant to be our final leap.  Yes, we've sent technology farther than the moon, but what happened to our inherent need for exploration?  To find what lies "just around the river bend?"  (Sorry, I couldn't help the Pocahontas quote, there!)

When I first read the news on my Facebook feed, I had another quote spring, unbidden, to mind.  This one seems much more appropriate for the loss of a national hero -- and for the legacy left behind by him and his fellows.
"What will be the next thing that challenges us...?  That makes us go farther and work harder?  ...  Surely we can do it again, as we did in the times when our eyes looked towards the heavens and, with outstretched fingers, we touched the face of God.  Here's to absent friends and the ones that are here now.  Cheers."

-- A (slightly edited) quote from "The West Wing" [Episode 1.05 "The Crackpots And These Women"]

No comments:

Post a Comment