“Space: the final frontier.” 

How many were drawn here by this simple compelling sentiment? It’s amazing what a few words can do in terms of insinuating an idea into the culture. Even in the old reruns shown when I was a kid, the basic idea still resonated. spacebowSpace was the place where one could be bold, brave, adventurous, legendary. And still, with the benefit of my seven weeks here in the heavens so far, the picture requires more detail:

Space is mystical. For as long as humans gazed upward, the stars have beckoned, a flickering beacon of destiny forever calling us forth. Or something like that! But hey, putting aside my mediocre poetry skills, it does feel a bit like a Middle Earth fantasy excursion. Everything here has meaning, poignancy, depth.

Space is queer. Seriously: people (mostly men, until recently) living in super close quarters, colorful flashing lights everywhere, the ballet of zero-gravity floating, the symphony of the cosmos. Space is queer like how war is queer, when you think about it: fabulous uniforms and excellent choreography. Continue Reading

It has been said that realists see the world as it is, and idealists see the world as it might be. Count me firmly among the ranks of the latter. I project as a glass-half-full, rose-colored optimist living out loud. But I had neglected to consider that seeing things as they might be doesn’t always mean it’s all good.

wlkphnsI only mention this because the arc of recent events challenged my rosy worldview. I suppose you could say that it was a crisis of faith that animated my journey to this place. But that’s too convenient, casting the blame outward and making it seem as if faith itself had some sort of crisis. It didn’t. It was me. . .

The day began like any other, with the usual buzz of impersonal interchanges (black or with cream? plain or glazed? paper or plastic?) as I negotiated the sidewalks of the metropolis. People bounded along in an oddly rhythmic yet uncoordinated routine, gazes cast downward into their palms, with stolen glances approaching the horizon only intermittently in order to avoid stepping directly into traffic. As one of the few left scanning the scene with my head up, I could see the patterns within the multitude’s chaos. This perspective usually felt satisfying, morally superior even, and provided a kind of authorial omnipotence. Continue Reading