adventures in reaching out
They sat on the couch watching TV. The potential of them becoming young lovers hung in the air.
They were watching a program about the Hubble Space Telescope and the many times that NASA had to fly the shuttle up to make repairs.
He was particularly interested in the part where the entire mission hung on the success of the shuttle’s robotic arm reaching out and connecting with the distressed telescope. Twenty years of effort, billions of dollars and NASA’s reputation hung in the balance for those tense few minutes. Closer and closer the arm came, success or failure about to be revealed, when finally; “Houston, Endeavor has a firm handshake… on Mr. Hubble’s telescope.”
Fixed and functioning as planned, the Hubble Space Telescope went on to provide images that far exceeded anyone’s expectations. The mirrors of the telescope were able to pick up light from billions of galaxies that were previously unknown. The boundaries of our understanding of the universe we live in were pushed. Depths were plumbed.
He sat back in awe. Real dyed-in-the-wool authentic awe.
Seeing his reaction, she said the following; “It makes me think of a story I once heard. There was this distraught homeless guy under a streetlight looking for his watch. Soon a bunch of other people were helping him look. Finally someone asks, “Do you remember where you lost it?” He says he thinks he lost it in the alley. “So why are we looking here?” they ask. “Because this is where the light is.””
It took him awhile to realize that she was referring to the Hubble Space Telescope. Perhaps in an unflattering way. “Don’t you think it’s impressive that we’re using this amazing technology to try to better comprehend the mysteries of existence?”
“All I’m saying is, maybe we’re not looking in the right place.”
He suddenly felt the boundaries of his understanding and manhood expand.
She continued, “Maybe Walt Whitman was on to something when he wrote “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.” Maybe it isn’t a coincidence that he called the poem Song of Myself.”
“Maybe” was all he could get out. He suddenly wanted to plumb her depths. Real dyed-in-the-wool authentic plumbing.
He became keenly aware of the space between them. Their final frontier.
He became particularly interested in the part where the entire mission hung on the success of his arm endeavoring to reach out and connect with the girl sitting next to him on the couch. Twenty weeks of effort, hundreds of dollars and his reputation hung in the balance for those tense few minutes. Closer and closer the arm came, success or failure about to be revealed.