Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Anniversary - man on the moon meets man in the moon

As a kid I remember sitting at the kitchen table, legs folded under me, leaning forward into the glass as far as I could get, gazing up and in between the leafy willow branches to see a giant red moon hanging just above the horizon.

I was 5.

To me, the moon was obviously mad. I had seen the astronauts on TV walking on the moon. I wanted to know how the moon felt about it and I wanted to know if I could see them up there from here. It was obvious to me, the moon didn't like it and it was red with anger.

I grew up in Sudbury, and while I don't recall details, having been so young, I do remember knowing the astronauts had come to town. I remember looking up to the stars. I knew they were going there... somewhere ... and they wouldn't be here (looking down at the earth at my feet). To this day I find it hard to actually gaze easily up to the night sky. As soon as my mind travels to how far that star is, and where or what all that blackness is and where it ends, or not, and how small we are, I am completely emotionally overwhelmed. Call me space sensitive but it's easy for me to feel just this big in the face of all that.

I had no idea what an effect this whole event had on me. When I took my first plane ride in 2000 I flew to the Arizona desert. I was immediately at home in the barren landscape. I felt like I was in familiar territory. The colours were new and fascinating but the landscape was soothing.
Sudbury was a black barren landscape when I lived there. It's actually now too green for me. I remember all the "make work" projects of the early 80's and the sod laying and the tree planting. Those of you out there who think Sudbury is bleak now would have run screaming a few decades ago. I think you must have had to grow there like I did to feel fondness for that but there you go. I love the bleak dark rocky harsh landscape.

When I started seriously painting I wanted to paint astronauts and this continues to follow me. I continue to gather information about the space missions and follow all of them enthusiastically. I am not so sure how I feel about the proposed plans to land again on the moon. "Why" is my first question and on the heels of that is "they're gonna ruin it" with more than a vague sense that the moon will now be used. Emotionally and spiritually, we should leave it alone. We got enough to deal with right here on Earth. Logically I see why people do this kind of thing though I really don't agree. There are alowas those who take perfectly good small houses and tear them down to build McMansions. Why? I see others with tiny bits of land here in my dense housing complex where I live, perfect soil to make tiny garden plots to grown things and as soon as they move it they put 2' square patio stones over the good earth. Why? I don't get a lot of what we do and I am sure I am equally contradictory and mysterious in my own habits. I just think about things a lot when I notice them.

Here's today's take on the moon landing in the Sudbury Star. Seems I am not alone in having been imprinted that day in my young life in Sudbury:

Headline: Sudburians recall Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind in ’69

And here is the entry for the day from

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Apollo 11: Onto a New World
Credit: Apollo 11, NASA

Explanation: A human first set foot on another world on July 20, 1969. This world was Earth's own Moon. In honor of today's 40th anniversary, NASA has released a digitally restored video of this milestone in human history. Pictured above is Neil Armstrong preparing to take the historic first step. On the way down the Lunar Module ladder, Armstrong released equipment which included the television camera that recorded this fuzzy image. Pictures and voice transmissions were broadcast live to a world wide audience estimated at one fifth of the world's population. The Apollo Moon landings have since been described as the greatest technological achievement the world has known.

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