Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Custodian of Heaven

The earth is the cradle of humankind, but one cannot live in the cradle forever.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Russian Rocket Scientist, 1895 

Ascent it goes into the night sky, as dozens of distant white orbs still visible to the naked eye envy its passing.

More luminous than the morning star, and closer to Terra Firma than the silvery Luna, the International Space Station glides quietly, as the rest of humanity remains unaware of its swift and sudden transit.

Word came out around mid-afternoon. I was about to cross the street when the message alert was sent to my Gmail. Early this year, I signed up to a service that tells when the orbiting laboratory will be over one's head. 

I thought it was a fluke. 

But on that day the Spot the Station did wonders. The outpost in the sky will make a dazzling flyby. Rising from the sea and into the moonrise direction, the space station, with half a dozen souls taking up temporary residence will dash across the city at quarter past daybreak.

I raced towards open grounds to witness the spectacle. The waterfront was my direction as the open waters allow for an unobstructed view. But time was against me, and my luck was running out. With night time fast approaching, I was left with a nearer choice from the train station: 


I arrived at the park with just minutes to spare. Putting on my eye glasses, I craned my head upwards in search for the celestial apparition. Venus blinked twice, along with Jupiter and the Pleiades. In the northern sky, close to the horizon was a faint red dot. 

Mars appeared on the hunt. 

Into the makeshift stage I walked, and then lied on my back upon reaching its surface. It was at the middle of a clearing, just behind the dancing water fountains. The spot was densely packed with people. Below the stage were a couple of lovers dating. Not far were friends relaxing. It would have been amazing to see them scouting the sky.

But their lives are bound by earthly pursuits.

Between flipping my phone and looking up to scan the heavens, I invoked the genius of the science gods with a thought prayer.

"May their calculations never prove incorrect, and the satellite's trajectory put it where it should be." I searched the sky for signs.

"I didn't go all this way to see nothing." 

And then, as it was written in the electronic mail; and as described in Wikipedia, a bright, slow moving object appeared where the sun had earlier set. It crossed directly overhead like a lone angel watching over the mundane lives of a busy planet.

International Space Station (Center)

Not even a kid asking for solicitation could disrupt my moment. My thoughts were with the man-made object as it flew overhead. Mistaken as an airplane, it moved without a sound. Its luminescence said to be the third brightest comes from the sun, as its rays bounce off from the orbiter's solar panels.

As the ISS graced the sky, my thoughts go back to a time when the machine was still being conceived. Science fiction or science fact, dreamy friends spoke of tomorrow, like our lives dwell high above the earth plane.

"Eternity lies in the heavens." I whispered as the International Space Station disappeared from my sight.

And as time - my own time aligned with the present, and the voices of old friends faded into memory, I left the stage slightly stunned and buoyant.

Somewhere over the mantle of darkness, my eyes had seen what lies beyond the cradle.

1 comment:

red the mod said...

"If you can dream it, you can do it."
- Walter Disney

Man's fixation on the heavens is a direct manifestation of his unquenchable thirst to make sense of things, to find his proper place in the immensity of existence. To prove that his presence has value, and significance.

Welcome to your new home. I am honored by your invitation.