...These are the voyages of the starship, Enterprise.
It's 5 year mission:
To explore strange new worlds..
To seek out new life and new civilizations..
To boldly go where no man has gone before.
Leonard Nimoy passed away today. Mr. Spock, Mr. "Live Long and Prosper", or "Dif-tor heh smusma" in Vulcan. He was widely known, and will now be remembered as one of the deepest, caring, most human of humans to ever exist. I won't claim to be any sort of expert or superfan on his life and career, but I did grow up with Star Trek episodes interfering with after-school homework. And every story, tweet, blurb that would surface in my world about the man was inspiring, interesting, and delivered with care and thoughtfulness. Whether in his own words, or through someone else's, he commanded a revery and respect that is reserved for very few to walk this planet, or any other planet for that matter.
As a boy I was obsessed with space. Well that's not entirely true. As a boy moving awkwardly into adolescence, I was obsessed with space. The earlier years were more reserved for jets and airplanes, I hadn't moved past the atmosphere quite yet. But as my brain developed and wondered, my thoughts moved into the stratosphere and soon beyond.
I'm going to attempt to describe a recurring feeling, maybe even a daydream that would happen to me, starting around age 10-11 and continuing until the present, thought admittedly I can't recall experiencing the full effect of the feeling in the last couple of years. I would often stop and look up to the heavens, directly at and through the pinholes of light created by the stars, and after a few moments, it would happen. It was a carnal knowledge...a surge of emotion, made up of equal parts excitement and fear, the acknowledgment that life here was temporary.. and the "what happens after???" was so incredibly, achingly unknown that I would have to look away, or risk being in that heightened state of mind forever. I seriously would have that thought. "Don't get caught here Brendan!!" It was akin to a drug. Many years later I tried the weed, and that emulated the wonderment and appreciation of being to some extent, but it wasn't the same (though it had it's own benefits). Nothing would be, even the first and most epic of mushroom trips where I literally took a rocketship to space and spent the afternoon on some oily-oceaned, tarblob king ruled beach speaking to passing life-forms in a language that I didn't even know that I could speak in, subsequently never to be spoken again. Another story for another day.
During the daytime, when the stars weren't visible, there was a similar feeling of wonderment that would happen, and it was triggered by jumbo jets. The little tiny ones, frequently followed by contrails (or chemtrails, whatever your fancy) that would streak deliberately across the sky, headed for far away lands, many of which still lie unexplored to me. To this day, I will sometimes hear the low, rumbly whine of a jet plane and stop to pick it out of the sky, watch for a few moments, and then carry on with whatever I was doing. It's borderline hypnotic, and it has been since I saw my first one, so many years ago.
But even that doesn't compare to that feeling of smallness, of mortality, of the unknown worlds and space beyond what we can see here from earth, even in the darkest of desert skies where the milky way glows majestically like a phosphorescent blanket.
Here's a song I wrote called Wake, inspired in part by "The Feeling".
It's magic. They sky, the stars, the planets, the universe, the black holes, the heavens.. they are magic to me, and I don't ever want that to change. No matter how many space movies I watch, no matter how many science journals are published and devoured, no matter how much Steven Hawking breaks it down, nothing can change my appreciation and love of space. Side note: watch The Theory of Everything, it's a beginner's way to glimpse into the life of the enigma that is Hawking.
So today, as one of the great space travelers of earth departs, the cosmos is once again front and center in my neurons. "The Feeling" is back and tonight when the stars come out, I will be out there looking up at them, wondering about all kinds of things, because that's just what I love about being alive.
Long Live and Prosper, indeed.