I happened to be awake Sunday morning at 5am when the moon was at its closest point to Earth in a long while. It set a pretty picture in the pre-dawn sky of this new spring as the full moon made a wonderful trio with Saturn and Spica, the brightest star in the Virgo constellation.
When you can’t sleep and you seem to be the only one awake all sorts of things run through your head. As a writer I struggle to jot them down in my sleepless stupor and realize things used to be a lot simpler when the world set its goals on the infinity of space.
True, there is nothing simple about the process of launching men into galactic orbit but in reaching for the stars we all shared a common dream and we expected more of our heroes. It was shared optimism on a global scale. Now, with all of this “social networking” that we seem to do, it has divided mankind into a colony whose only shared vision is the blue glow of a computer screen.
Then, today, another journalist friend who shared this childhood experience posted an article about the loss of one Russian cosmonaut, not well known but equally as devastating as the loss of our Challenger or Columbia shuttle astronauts or the crew of Apollo 1, and it made me want to write again.
We are living in difficult times – the world is suffering under a devastating financial crisis with no end in sight; the citizens of developing countries are toppling dictatorial governments with the hope of a better life; the “have-nots” outnumber the “haves” in every corner of the globe; and hope is but a faint shadow amid a populace struggling for daily survival.
Yet, whether we live in a remote corner of Montana or the rugged terrain of Afghanistan or the desert of Libya, somewhere there is a child, a mother, a grandfather, who still looks up at the night sky and wonders if there is anyone else out there feeling as they do, dreaming as they do, hoping the world will be a better place. The ancients looked to the stars for guidance and not much has changed in 2,000 years. It is this dream, this hope that is the unifying factor which just might save us.
For the most part, we have become a society devoid of goals and dreams and have allowed this planetary morass to consume us. We need to pick ourselves up by our well-worn bootstraps and start dreaming again for the future lies in our dreams.