Sunday, August 26, 2012

Small Steps and Big Leaps

A baby book is full of 'firsts'. My baby book firsts consisted of sitting up, first word, first step, first tooth. For new generations, the books now probably have a section for first password, first text message and first word read on a Kindle. Instead of learning to tell time, the children learn to look at a digital clock. It is a new world where small steps are now leaps that seem to pick up speed as time progresses.

We sat in my small living room apartment. It was July 21, 1969, about six weeks before our wedding date. We sat on the sofa while on the TV on the opposite wall, Neil Armstrong literally touched down on the moon. The moon. This big round thing that had been hanging in the sky since I first was aware of the world around me. It had been unoccupied and unblemished by any human. Yet here we were watching the first footstep imprinted upon the soil of a celestial moon. We were part of that new generation where in 1961 Alan Shepard first went into outer space. In 1962 we watched John Glenn return from orbiting the moon. We had our first astronaut. A small step from that moon hanging in the sky to the leap of a man walking on it, all captured and viewed live in my living room.

I'm not so sure how my parents felt about a man walking on the moon. A universe of mystery was suddenly another piece of land in the sky. Perhaps Dad chuckled trying imagine a farmer with his plow working up the ancient moon soil. Maybe for all of us the moon became something more tangible, a place where perhaps water had once flowed and life began. A giant leap that changed us and our thinking forever. Perhaps the greatest adventure of all.

What great discoveries will greet our grandchildren? What yet will we see in our lives? Most of those who risked their lives as space explorers are now gone. What an honor to have lived in this time of adventure. What thrills we have experienced through this journey in space. Neil Armstrong's small step was indeed a giant leap for man...and womankind.

We sat on the sofa watching a black and white TV screen. A hatch opened, and a man took a step. I think perhaps I should add a section in my old baby book. One that captures the firsts of our times.

1 comment:

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