July 20, 2004

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon. Then, it was a startling, astounding feat, intense sharing of hope and dream, culmination to the space race opening up an entire new frontier of possibility, where nothing could ever be constrained to the merely practical ever again. Today, the announcement is already weeks old that NASA will determinedly push toward a manned mission to Mars (only 5 years later than it had once scheduled, pre-announcement - but that original schedule was stated years ago, ancient history): and the popular reaction hovers between cynical perception of diversion away from uncomfortable realities, and a large, extended yawn.

Infinite frontiers, only to avoid dealing with the here-and-now realities? but we need the dreams too, if we are not to be ground up within the maintenance and improvement of infrastructure ratrace. We need more than an illusion of landscape unfolding before a stationary bicycle. How can we recover the dream, purify the tainted yearning for the reach which exceeds our grasp? How can we restore the anticipation of unknown horizons without ignoring the needs of the everyday?

It is not that it has been a particularly uneventful week. Between intense work and a general underlying exhaustion, much of it just never managed to reach pixellated text. Odd, though: for I so very rarely dream of those known to me, and before this week I might have said "never". But in the past seven days, I have dreamed of those well known to me at least seven times, sometimes twice in a single night. The images could be straight out of a Fellini film, intense, yet very much everyday scenes with haunting suggestion of imagery: a slow, almost picnic-style meal by the side of the tracks at a familiar level crossing (at an existing caravan-side eatery), watching the triple headlight pattern of a slowly approaching locomotive. Another thing not typical of me, to dream in intense visual imagery, or when I do, to place it within familiar settings.

For some reason, my subconscious seems to be convinced that I should be able to change some personal situations I thought I had accepted as unchangeable by me. Curious also, that this happens the same week as I have not been able to access the Internet more than three hours in total. Does my on-line writing provide an outlet for needed overflow? perhaps a feeling that after all on-line words might make a difference? or does it barricade away unwanted awareness?

(There were and continue to be periods in my life when I cannot touch a book, for the same reason as I cannot watch "background" television: the reading itself, the consideration of the writer's ideas, actually seems to block any other thought.)

Given the current and continuing weather patterns, with their unpredictable, unsettled, alteration between hot and humid, tepid and humid, and raining and humid, the general exhaustion has a predictable side-effect whenever I remain in an environment with reliable air conditioning for any extended length of time: I find myself very nearly falling asleep. (Nowhere I have lived has ever had more air conditioning than an open window.) So, Rhui, when you felt I was slightly distracted in the chat last week: you were right ... and I regret that the same might be the case today.

Storm season is well and truly upon us. Still, if tornadoes there must be, I much prefer the kind which struck locally last Tuesday, where windspeeds could not be determined because it happened not to contact anything structural.

Smile of the day:

The businessman collapsed into his chair at home, exhausted. His wife was immediately there with a tall, cool drink and a comforting word. "My, you look so tired," she said, sympathetic. "You must have had a hard day today. What happened to make you so exhausted?"

"It was terrible. The computer broke down, and all of us had to do our own thinking."

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