The desire of monks and mystics is not unlike that of artists: to perceive the extraordinary within the ordinary by changing not the world but the eyes that look… To form the intention of new awareness is already to transform and be transformed.
~ Jane Hirshfield, Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World
Have an uncomfortable mind; be strange. Be disturbed: by what is happening on the planet, and to it; by the cruelty, and stupidity humanity is capable of; by the unbearable beauty of certain music, and the mysteries and failures of love, and the brief, confusing, exhilarating hour of your own life.
– Kim Addoniziok, Bukowski in a Sundress
M and I went to watch the latest NASA Wallops (Virginia) rocket launch on Wednesday. They launched a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus NG-11 cargo ship bringing supplies to the ISS.
We are unable to view the rocket launches from the spot where we used to watch them. There is a good reason for that. It’s too close. As you might recall, we were there when Orbital Science’s Antares rocket exploded in October 2014. (In case you missed it, my post and photos from that adventure are here.) They now close the area prior to a launch. The spot where we go now is not as good in terms of a clear view and that makes the photos I took look somewhat peculiar. Or bizarre. Or something of that nature.
A lot of people showed up to watch the launch. I always marvel at how many travel four, five, or six hours to see it, not knowing if the launch will happen or not. Launches that M and I have gone to see have been cancelled for all sorts of reasons. Probably the most aggravating is when a launch is scrubbed because someone in a boat failed to get the memo. Wallops issues marine notices about the avoidance areas and yet, people either ignore them or don’t care.
The launches are always exciting, especially since witnessing the explosion. It’s difficult not to worry when it looks as though the rocket is headed in our direction. It’s not and it wasn’t, but there is a moment or two when it looks that way. An illusion, of sorts. When I look at the photos, I wonder why my eyes and brain thought it was heading towards us when I can clearly see (with hindsight and close-up shots) that it was going in the opposite direction.
I have mixed feelings about our space explorations. The universe is fascinating and there is so much out there we know nothing about. There was the imagery of Voyager I (1990) of earth as a Pale Blue Dot and Carl Sagan’s commentary on it. (Image and commentary here.) But at the same time, I wonder if all the money spent on rockets and space stations and exploring the possibility of landing on another planet couldn’t be used to help fix things here. Well, sure. It could be. The problem is, those that have that kind of money seem to prefer to throw it in other directions.
After the launch, M and I went to Pocomoke River State Park for a little walk, to look at the dogwoods and see what spring has been up to in that area. They have a long row of dogwood trees near the Trail of Change, and there are more in the woods.
We arrived about an hour or two before sunset. The light was beautiful, the trees were beautiful, and spring was putting on a lovely show.
I’m not sure if we were too early or too late. A bit of both, I think. The dogwoods getting the most sunlight were nearly finished flowering (yes, I know, they are bracts, not flowers, but they look like flowers and “flowering” sounds so much better than “bracting” — I’m not even sure that’s a term) and beginning to leaf out. Those in the shady areas looked as though they were just getting started.
Never mind. They were still beautiful, no matter what stage they were in.
Rain is coming our way sometime today or tonight or (more likely) in the wee hours of the morning. Watches and warnings were issued early. A tornado watch for parts of the Bay (which I find peculiar — why not the land on either side of the bay?). Flood warnings and watches all around. The rain will be good for the gardens. It might also help wash away all the pollen from the loblolly pines. You can’t walk outside without coming back with a light coating of yellow pollen all over you.
That’s about it from me on this cloudy, warm, and humid Friday. I don’t think there will be much to see at sunset. The clouds have been with us pretty much all day. But you never know. There might be a break in the clouds before the big storms arrive. Sunset is scheduled for 7:42 PM. If it looks like there’s something to see, I’ll meet you out at the dock. Wear your summer clothing and a good insect repellent. The ticks are out and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were some biting flies newly hatched and just waiting for someone to come along in the woods.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,056) Friendship. It’s priceless. 1,057) Real conversations. Also priceless. 1,058) Getting the grass mowed before the next batch of rain. Last year it seemed like I was always right behind the rain and the grass would grow faster than I could keep up with it. (It’s much harder to mow when it gets long.) 1,059) Seeing a salamander in the woods. I think it was an Eastern Red-backed Salamander. They are supposed to be pretty common around here. I didn’t get a photo of it. It was moving too fast. But I did get a good glimpse of it before it disappeared. 1,060) Laughter, corny jokes, and a good sense of humor.