I set my clock for six… some silly dream was going on.
The “Entertainer” melodic notes provided long ago by Scott Joplin roused me.
I lay there wondering if I should move… didn’t want to.
The cats were clearly having none of it.
The indecision took 15 minutes….
Suddenly it was now or never.
I flipped on the TV… the countdown was still on.
Stumbled into the living room to fire up the TV that I could wind back time with.
And slipped outside into the cool, quiet wet of predawn.
1 minute 30 seconds
To my right a young man was kissing his girl? wife? good bye as she jalopied off to work.
He sort of looked at me in my slippers and night shorts… who knows what thoughts went through his head.
But I noted his bathrobe, checkered, as he went back inside and the lock clicked.
Safe from me and the thousand other burglars on the prowl.
I was alone with the moon and the illusion of night still heavy.
I looked to the East.
Wondered if anything was changing at the last minute.
The glow began
That orange intensity that said something big was coming.
Then it popped above the tree line.
Glorious, bringing it’s own early daylight.
That light that is too bright, too big with whooshing billowing streams of smoke pouring out behind it…
A modern remembrance of belching Iron Horses that commanded the prairies in years gone by.
Alone, I was watching it’s graceful arc to chase the space station that had only minutes before scurried across the face of the moon!
No one else was stirring.
No one else chose to take in this magnificent sight.
Everyone else had reached for the snooze buttons.
The billowing thread of smoke paused… a gap, a moment, and then…
This new intense bluish flame erupted… now there were two smoke clouds punctuating the sky.
And as it flared one last brightening time, two tiny red specks silently fell away… cinders to me
Still it arced to the horizon.
Only now straight up became a slope down… as it truly showed the curve of our planet…
I kept it in frame as long as I could…
Finally watching the now tiny candle cradled between two branches of the big tree until it was swallowed by a leaf.
Leaving nothing but the smoky contrails, the upper patch and long streak of initial thrust.
But their turn now as they themselves put on a show.
For the new day which had already begun in the heavens high above us found a short cut down to the twilighted predawn sky.
Each cloud was illumined from within by bouncing starlight racing down the unexpected tubes to earth…
And as they drifted lazily apart they formed what looked like a signature…
The handwritten mark of the shuttle.
Of man in space.
Now the sky lightened, motor cars rumbled and twin headlights began to stab the quiescence as the mundane workaday world resumed.
Reluctantly I breathed in a last look at the tableau above me but knowing I had one more glimpse awaiting inside.
My very own “Way Back” machine that most call Pause.
So there in the darkened living room I watched anew the close up miracle of televised majesty.
All the way to the stunning separation just as the earth finally spun into sunlight… the blue curve of our lifeboat sailing through the starry heavens rimmed with a new day.
Wondering, I padded once more into the awakening of the real dawn to see what had become of the hazy signatures.
Against a yellowing sky sliding quickly into daylight blue they were there … looking more like lines of music now.
Perhaps they were.
Each thread of exhausted gas brilliant with impossible oranges and reds that only the upper atmosphere could provide.
What words can you put to such a morning?
How can mere letters capture the beauty of this?
Somehow, as if my unspoken thoughts were heard, I stepped back into the four walls of my day to day and happened to glance down at my feet.
There all by itself on the fence was a single solitary Morning Glory.
The first one of the new year.
The only one.
Opened with yearning and joy, lit as they are with their own internal light
A haiku of Nature that said more than anything I humbly tried.
For the Writer of the World has always known how to say it best: