Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Inkhat Contemplates Space Travel

New black and white cat this morning. I’ve dubbed her Xena. I scared the tail off her by opening the blinds when she was leaning against the window. I felt mildly bad about it. But enough about kittens.

Let’s talk about something else. Let’s talk about space. Spending a great portion of my day unpacking has given me of time to think. That is to say, I usually think far too much about things without consequence. However, having no one else in the house to stop me, and nothing to do but move objects the distance between their box and their new shelf, I have thought a lot. A moment to comment on another kind of space. The only major problem I have encountered is that while the house has a great deal of floor space it has very little practical storage space, or at least none where I need it. For instance, the garage is almost entirely composed of shelves, but I need more room for my clothes and books. It is an interesting predicament, needing space where I have so much.

During this period of object in motion, being able to turn off my decision making centers, my mind has actually traveled the entire distance of the arcs of mad thought to the strange and colorful land beyond. It’s a strange place. There are teaparties of the mind. The sewn from pulsing neurons in the weird unlight . Also, unicorns, which are surprisingly not of the mind at all, but of the right elbow, precisely where I banged it against the kitchen counter yesterday. They were rather in a bad mood about it.

Where was I?

Oh right. Space. Two days ago, again in my ramblings to find internet I came across a queer and magical land called Donkey Coffee. It turns out that in this place they make one hell of a delicious mocha latte, and also have a bohemian and snobbish air about the rooms that borders on perfection. At the counter there were a variety of CDs priced from 5 to 10 dollars. I picked up one called Flyaway Saturn. On the back, song number 2 I believe, was entitled Hello Han Solo.

“Well,” thought I to myself, “I am certainly more than willing to spend 5 dollars to find out what that song is about.”

“Other than Han Solo, of course.” I reminded myself.

“Of course.” I agreed.

It turns out that the entire CD is amazing. I’ve listened to it on loop in the car or while unpacking for the past few days. Most of it focuses on space travel, which, some of you may know, is a personal favorite trope of mine. I recall a conversation with Max over coffee in which he expressed trepidation over the concept of space, while I felt mostly excitement. Perhaps, I hypothesized, to me space is proof of the presence of a God, and not only a God, but a God who wants us to go out to find him; has made an effort to illustrate that possibility. Think about it for a moment. We are, essentially, in a box, but a permeable one, granted with some effort. If you will, a box with air holes punched in. It is possible that we could have been created in a box with no holes at all. As it is, we can see the light through the lid. Actually, perhaps a better analogy would be a mason jar. That too, is flawed because we can leave, if we really want to, and make the effort.

Alright so, what we really are is a butterfly in an open mason jar on an island in the middle of an endless, rolling, briny sea. There is no way, no possible way, that butterfly will stay in that jar, or even on that island. There is no proof that there is anything in an direction but the silent, rolling waves. Yet, what are the chances the butterfly, or it’s butterchildren, will remain on that stretch of sand? That, I say, is the nature of space and space travel.

This is, essentially, where I am now. Stay with me here. It’s easy to stay in my house, while everywhere around me the unknown exists without my interference. It is easy to think I am alone, and to ignore the possible existence of other butter-folk, or moths, or heck, I’d take a wasp. Last night I got a call from the other grad students, and I met them at the bar. I think Flyaway Saturn put it best in “Taking a Turn.”

“We need a rocket ship right now.”

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