Monday, July 20, 2009

The Impossible Dream, made possible

We suspend our disbelief so easily when it comes to transforming robots, the Force and pointy eared aliens, but when it comes to comprehending how men could actually journey to the moon, we're still at a loss.

Imagine, just imagine standing on a cold piece of rock that a few generations before, some folks were convinced was made of cheese — or was inhabited by exotic animals. Since the dawn of man, this bright orb in the sky was the object of wonder, of worship, of dreams and prose.  And now you're looking at rocks, dust, little hills through the visor of a suit that's keeping you alive. You look up and see a beautiful ball, a big blue marble that contains everything and everyone you've ever known. While you're taking in this astounding sight, wars are being fought, triumphs are being celebrated, old men are gasping their last breaths, babies are taking in their first. All on this bright sphere in the distance.

Hours go by in a flash, and it's time to pack up your lunar picnic basket and start the last leg of the boldest, most dangerous adventure a man has ever undertaken. Three days later, flames lick at your plummeting tin can; you and your two fellow travelers splash into the ocean, instantly becoming the most unique and most envied people on the planet.

Although you have traveled so far into the sky, you're hardly a superman back on earth. Once you were separated from your neighbors by over 200,000 miles, but you're back home now... back to lawn mowing, grocery shopping, traffic jams and barking dogs. Every day for 40 years, someone wants to shake your hand while you recall your fantastic journey, a journey that only a handful of people understand. Every night for 40 years, weather permitting, you gaze up at this moon, this alluring alien land that you once claimed for all mankind. You stare and imagine that you can see the footprints — your footprints — that still mark its surface. And you must wish, "If only I could do it again."

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