I realize that I no longer know how to measure or track time. I own two watches, an iPhone. The house and car and office are filled with clocks, and the computer, iPad, all have the time. It’s not the actual hour or minute that mystifies me. I know the days of the week, the month and the year so I am not anymore disoriented than usual. It’s just more of trying to ponder how long ago things have occurred in my lifetime. Context…yesterday I read that it was thirty-eight years ago that Harry Chapin died . I was thinking about him and then thought of Jim Croce and wondered when he died. Not a matter of morbid curiosity but more about just checking the date to see how my memory is, since somehow I get them mixed up for no good reason. Jim Croce died in 1973. So that’s almost fifty years ago. Now we are all talking about it being fifty years since the first two astronauts landed and walked, hopped, and jumped on the moon. We all watched. My story was much the same as yours, I would imagine. My parents took my sister and me, two apartments down the hall to a lovely neighbor’s home. She was an older woman (seemed ancient, was probably 70) and she had a color television. It was late and we were in our pajamas and she was very hospitable. She gave us cookies and we sat silently, almost reverently, and watched history being made.
I have, somewhere, a copy of the issue of Life magazine’s souvenir issue of the coverage. I also own the cover of the Lennart Nilsson photos of the drama of birth and babies. When I try and sort and discard these possessions, I always look at them carefully and closely. I remember seeing them for the first time when the issue arrived at the house. My parents would read the magazine and I was asked “do you want to keep this to remember and show your children?”. I was 11 in 1965 when that baby issue was printed. I saved them, but wasn’t thinking about children I might have or grandchildren. I was only 11. I seemed to be the archivist of old newspapers of assassinations, elections, scientific moments, victories, tragedies. They still are kept safe. I may have shown my children at some point. They may have had vague interest. Will I show my grandgirls? Perhaps. I can’t throw them away. Not yet.
I love the moon. if I had to choose between the sun and the moon, the moon wins, every time. It’s approachable. People have been there. People like us. The sun, not so approachable. The moon is ours….everyone’s. It belongs to every living creature we share the earth with. It belongs to the earth, our earth, our only earth, our only moon. My moon, your moon, our moon. There are plenty of songs about the sun but the ones about the moon seem endless. The moon is a river, it has a dark side, it’s over Miami and Frank Sinatra sang about flying there. The moon and Frank. That’s a winning combination. Would I go there? Sure, why not? And then again, I’m not so sure anyone should go there. Twelve astronauts have been there. I just like to imagine it as being left to sing about, and wonder about, and contemplate on, but left alone. We have this earth, our only earth and we have not done a good job of caring for it, have we. I think we have not set a good precedent for caretaking of our only personal planet. So, don’t fly me to the moon. Just let me and the rest of us bask in the moon glow and moon shadows and maybe write a song. Does anybody really know what time it is?