touching earth

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - Daily Notes, From the Editor

(700 words)

If you had the chance to go to outer space, would you take it?

"If you had the chance to go to outer space, would you take it?" He asked me this question from across the table as he poured my tiny cup of Thai Jasmine tea and we waited for our curry to be served.

It was a Saturday evening in mid-January and nothing had gone the way I'd expected it would that day, starting with the flatter than flat tire that prevented me from attending my niece's third birthday party and ending with the in-the-parking-lot-of-Les-Schwab-picking-up-my-Jeep-at-7pm decision we made to spend this evening together, instead of Sunday like we had originally planned. 

Even this Thai restaurant was totally spontaneous, a joint we hungrily spotted on Aurora as he drove me to the tire place. So here we were, a bit bedraggled compared to the grooming we usually do before our weekly date nights, discussing the big questions in life that don't really seem to apply to us but of course get straight to the heart of the matter--who we are, how we are wired, and what we desire.

Statues of Ganesha and modern photos of the Thai king peered at us over the sounds of bubbling fish tanks, buzzing neon signs, and giggling women at the table in the corner. "I don't know," I replied slowly. "I think it would depend on the risk, and on my age, but honestly the idea of really doing it does not thrill me."

He was looking into my eyes the way we do, and I always marvel at the bright, unspoken, infinite intelligence I see there, lined with curiosity and softened with amusement and willing vulnerability. His eyes feel like home and also like a galaxy I will never reach as long as I am alive on this earth and so I must be content to gaze when the stars come out over impromptu Thai food.

Don’t you think the perspective would change your life?

But this time his eyes widened in disbelief. He seemed genuinely stunned by my answer and asked, "Don't you think the perspective would change your life?" Then as if to find something more relatable that I would be willing to say yes to, he asked me if I would go skydiving. 

Later, in the hot tub we snuck into for the second time since New Year's Eve, we watched the three-quarters moon rise and he told me he has been thinking about a plan for the long run that would enable him to have a small airplane and fly to and from the island where we talk about possibly, one day, having land and a home. I listened in awe, heart-struck as always by audible confirmation that his dreams and future-related thoughts really are tracking in sync with mine, and that I am not the only one in this pair whose daydreams are more like schemes to bring the visions to life.

He longs to fly. My word for this year is "grounded."

Earth is a minuscule blue jewel floating and spiraling dizzyingly through space. We are already flying.

I wanted to defend my perspective and say, "I already know our universe is incredible. Earth is a minuscule blue jewel floating and spiraling dizzyingly through space. We are already flying." But I did not say that. Because the truth is he is right. I do not know what it would feel like to go into space as a human or on a mission to colonize Mars, something he readily admits he would probably sign up for if he had the opportunity.

A friend recently pointed out that we walk around in rubber-soled shoes all day long and so many people rarely physically touch the earth. Last night I removed my shoes and socks and sat in my yard, the skin of my feet directly resting on January dirt for 60 frozen seconds. I could feel the electricity of my nervous system grounding, my toes buzzed as it passed through them into the soil. I closed my eyes and felt more at home than I have in days.

I am willing to fly. The hummingbirds in my yard this morning were showing me. I do believe he will have an airplane one day. And I will go up there with him when he does.

Touching earth, though, is a perspective worthy of continued exploration.


Laura Lowery is the founder, editor and publisher of Lucia. She does her best to lead a creative life. Whether triumphant or stumbling, Laura shares daily notes (that are often weekly) here on luciajournal, including stories, behind-the-scenes happenings, little doses of inspiration, and large quantities of curiosity and heart. She is pleased to meet you.