Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Credit where due...

In conversation with a good friend, I realised that I had only briefly touched on the foundation of these ramblings.

Without our frequent walks from home to catch the post, I would not have learned the art of free, creative thought as entertainment and instruction. My dad and I would tramp through damp bracken and heather, negotiating rocks and rabbit holes in near darkness whilst chatting on about the start and end of all things.

Throughout, our discourse was illuminated and inspired by the sharp, clear presence of the Milky Way, clearly visible in the Highland night, undimmed by street lights or the fog of industry. Our conversation (well, mine at least) was honed by fear. I worried that the torch would lose it's charge and that we would have to grope our way, through hordes of things from my imagination. Adrenaline lent an edge to my thinking and, I like to think, set some thoughts and ways of thinking there for later years, each associated with a feeling, gradually lost, it's potency forgotten.

My dad was patient and patently still keen to learn. It's tempting now to think that he gained from chatting too. We were aware of theories as they reached the press and radio. The landing on the Sea Of Tranquility was the main event and completely eclipsed all else for me. Until that happened, we talked and talked about the size and shape of nothing and everything equally.

We had some old binoculars and later, a telescope. Somehow though, the optical enhancement didn't match the utter state of stupid wonderment that viewing our position in the galaxy afforded with the naked eye. These sights are rare now. To see the shape of the spiral on it's edge and to almost hear the falling of the Northern Lights in winter. These are things that require a clear sky. Not something we can all enjoy these days.
I will always be thankful for that.

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