Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Letter to Space

Mr. Don Pettit,
Node 2, Deck 5, ISS, LEO 51.603

Dear Don,
A letter…
“Perpetual Twilight”.
That is the name of my favorite blog post of all time.
You see, I wanted to be an astronaut as a child.
Didn’t we all?
I was obsessed with space travel, in constant fascination of MIR throughout my childhood.
Space travel-
Space exploration-
Exploration of the existential self in confined spaces.
Zero Gravity-
A moment-
That moment-
Just a moment-
Of inexplicable beauty, of unworkable reason; an unfeasible once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of something impossible.
A bit like love.
Like that moment of perpetual twilight, almost impossible, almost not there…
It’s so fascinating, I want to hug it.
I didn’t fulfill on my wish of being an astronaut.
I am a scientist of plays; I engineer theatre pieces, short stories, films.
I am also into conservation, environmental sciences, sports, music, cheddar cheese and books.
My curiosity does not understand of limits, and who am I to stop it indulging in absurdities.
Absurdities for others, perhaps, but for us (my curiosity and me), it means life- understanding equals life.  Perhaps the sole reason for my existence is the questioning of these things.

Randy Paush said he just dreamt of the zero-gravity bit, I did not… not only.
I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to wear the kit, I wanted to be alone in space, reflecting on the fear it would give me to be alone in space reflecting on fear…- all by myself, floating above home, far from reach, and observe the earth, its lights, its roundness, its dimensions, its movement and everything outside of it, outside of myself, outside of anything my brain could describe.
I feel like I live my childhood dream through your eyes – somehow.
Zucchini talks to my heart; I root for sunflower’s wellbeing.
I was there when you grabbed little Dragon towards you, present.
I’ve participated of your experiments and games, your stories and your lack of plastic bags.
I now know how to pee in space, how to eat in space, how much toothpaste to use, how to talk to plants, how to listen to them. I now know how an eclipse looks from above, and I even know what Expedition or Increment I would like to belong to. I think I now qualify for Increment 31.
I almost feel like I know an astronaut.

My favorite astronaut of all time- just because you play with food (and channel sprouts)!
I thank you, from my bedroom on this fragment of intergalactic sediment – from this atom of universality…
I thank you for being my window, for allowing dreams to be proof-able, determined, tangible.
For allowing vastness to be spacious.
For forging knowledge, for inspiring discovery and discovering inspiration- in the everyday and in everything.
For taking care of the plants, for writing poems, stories, notes, letters.
A letter to you, my space bound friend, for being brave and cautious, and creative when you need to, for sharing with us-the dreamers on mother-ship earth who wait your return to hear more stories of unbelievable feats.
Empty space.
Never empty.
Always analyzed, observed, proud.
I hunt the skies for a glimpse of that metallic body that houses not only your physicality, but also your ideas, your dreams and the perfect poetry of sight that the outside has ignited in you.
The floating house.
The laboratory of dreams.
I can see through your eyes.
I gain understanding, freedom, inspiration. I am an astronaut. Here. Right now.

Now Earth awaits your landing.
Say your goodbyes to your sleep station. (Just for now)
My only concern now is…
Who will garden the plants?

From this dreamer and wishful member of Expedition 30/31, for Soyuz TMA-03M with call sign Antares,
From a bedroom on Earth,

                                                                         Sophia Mertins

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