Thursday, July 19, 2007

T Minus 30 Years: Houston, We Have Liftoff

I always cry when I see yellow footage of the Apollo launches. It's something about American hope during that era. Maybe it grew from success in a collective push to defeat the common evil of Soviet communism. Maybe it grew from the naive ideas that America would always be for Americans, that our destructive impulses could never compete with Nature's power to heal itself, and that our consumer urge was propelling us toward greatness like a Saturn V rocket. Anyway, it makes me emotional. We don't hope like that anymore.

In my favorite view of what I think was Apollo 8, you can see the towers that tether the rocket to the launch pad give way in succession as the rocket rises toward the Wild Black Yonder in a cloud of fire and ice and steam. I don't know what those towers are called. My father-in-law, who is a genuine rocket scientist, does. To me, those towers represent fear. If my life were a Saturn V rocket, I would be prepared for liftoff.

If I were to name five of my greatest fears, I would realize that each one of them has come to fruition over the course of the past few weeks. I've faced demons and giants that have haunted me for years in a very narrow span of time. I've found them to be every bit as daunting as I imagined them to be, but I conquered them all. I'm left in the rather uncomfortable place of being without excuse. There really isn't anything left to dread. Of course,there are always unexpected disasters, but the old mountains, the really old demons, the fears I've treasured and fed and cherished all my life are conquered. I think there might be nothing left to do but launch.

And yeah, I editied this a lot. My previous draft really, really frightened me. And I try not to scare myself.

No comments: