Like Babies At Birth

I have no name
I am but two days old—
What shall I call thee?
I happy am
Joy is my name—
Sweet joy befall thee!

—William Blake

Space is changing humans. And that is a good thing.

A while back I wrote about Ron Garen, spacehuman who takes marvelous photographs, and compiles wondrous videos, while up and out, in the great wide open.

Garen is responsible for, among other things, the video below, which always makes me happy, in the best, because the most vulnerable, of ways. It documents the final hours of Garen and two Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station; then, their return to the planet.

I realize there still exist supremely silly larvals, like Captain Underpants, who, in presuming to speak for the transitory artificial construct known as the United States, recently bellowed that Russia is “our number one geopolitical foe.”

But all that is so over. Russians and Americans: they are the same human. Space helps people to understand that. For: as above; so below. Garen and his fellows, Alexander Samokutyaev and Andrey Borisenko, they get that. So should we. Space, it has shaped these humans’ sense and sensibility. Having gone up, they more clearly apprehend and appreciate what is down to the ground. So should we.

Now comes this spaced-human. Who has fallen in love, up there on the International Space Station. In love with space itself. And so, as all true lovers will, he has written his beloved a poem. Titled “Space Is My Mistress.”

This would never have happened, if he’d never gone out there.

But space has made him more, of who he really is.

we stroll outside together 
enveloped by naked cosmos 
filled with desire to be one 

Yes indeedy.

This sort of thing has been happening to humans ever since they began venturing into space. Most recently, in machines. As we not long ago passed the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s first trip into the great wide open, let us recall, beyond the “furthur,” what happened to Mr. Glenn, in his up and out.

Remember first that the general run-of-the-mill human was then more excited about humans in space, than is true today. Because humans reaching space, in machines, was then so new. And—true—there was also then that now-quaint US vs. Russkies thing.

And so, when Glenn’s fragile little Mercury craft was scheduled to pass over Australia, the people of the city of Perth planned to turn all their lights on for him. So Glenn could see them, as he passed over in the night. A sort of friendly wave.

Now, Australian aborigines, those humans, they didn’t have white-people lights. But they offered to turn some lights on, too.

As Philip Kaufman’s illuminati film The Right Stuff records. Also as his film records, the aborigines, they felt a kinship with Glenn. Because some among their people, they engage in spaceflight, too. And have for some 40,000 years.

So the aborigines offered to help Glenn, with his flight. Kaufman shows this, as well.

The white people, they thought this was silly: how could a bunch of aborigines, there on the ground, “help”?

But that aborigines built a big fire out by the NASA tracking station, there in Australia, and that out there the aborigines did something or other—this is regarded as “historical” “fact.”

Also “historical” “fact” is that at some point an indicator light came on, back at USA ground control, claiming that Glenn’s craft had malfunctioned, and deployed its landing bag, while he was out there happily orbiting the planet. This meant the craft’s heat shield was exposed. Which meant if the bag blew off in re-entry—as it no doubt would—Glenn would fry.

So the NASA people decided that Glenn should attempt a manual re-entry. On the theory that this would keep the bag from blowing off. Though it would heat up the craft, and Glenn, to an uncomfortable degree.

While the ground people were worrying about this, Glenn knew nothing about any of it. Because they didn’t tell him, and he was meanwhile in ecstatic transport. For his craft had entered, and was enveloped by, a marvelous cloud of what he described as “fireflies”—dancing little lights.

The NASA people figured this was some manifestation of his malfunctioning craft.

But in Kaufman’s film—and without words, because words aren’t necessary in cinema—it is shown that these fireflies are in fact extensions of the sparks from the aborigines’ fire. Sent to space to help Glenn.

And Glenn was indeed helped. For he has remained transported by those lights, those fireflies, all of his life.

It was later determined, back at USA NASA ground control, that there had been no problem with the landing bag, the heat shield, or anything else. The only problem was with the indicator light. It had come on indicating an error, where there in fact was none.

And so the fireflies could not have come from the craft. They came from somewhere else.

Now, you can go today go onto the intertubes, and there discover that party-pooping Science Men have since concluded that Glenn’s fireflies were in fact little sparkly things produced by his urine, which had exited the craft.

This is of course utter bollocks. They were, in fact, transporting fireflies. Out in space. Which Glenn had been meant, allowed to see.

And he knows that. He doesn’t buy any of that “urine” hogwash.

He knows that they were, and are, as real as the fireflies that, earthbound, float through a soft sultry southern night.

He, as we, knows it doesn’t matter, if no one else sees them, or believes in them.

Because they’re there.

As above; so below.

May all you all see them, as often and as clearly as possible.


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When I Worked

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