361 – December 27
“Like buried treasures, the outposts of the Universe have beckoned to the adventurous from immemorial times.”—George Ellery Hale
I grew up reading science fiction. I love the explorations of authors who expand reality to other planets, universes, dimensions, times. So much of what we take for granted in our everyday lives had its precursor in sci-fi: the radio, television, microwaves, space travel. What man can imagine, he usually later invents. For countless centuries, people were ruled by the suspicion that many things were impossible or unknowable. Now, we live in an age where nothing seems impossible—it’s just a matter of inventing the right technology.
When John F. Kennedy said that we would put a man on the moon within ten years, the technology to do that didn’t exist. He called for it to come into existence, and scientists jumped to make it so. And so it was.
I remember, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” I stood in awe on the sidewalk outside my house, front door open so I could see the small figure walking in moon dust on the television set, and looked up at the moon in the night sky at the same time. Dad told me that the real miracle was not that a man was walking on the moon, but that we were all watching a man walking on the moon.
So I was excited to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg’s brilliant movie about the first human contact with an alien civilization. I went to a showing with my friend, Gaye, and my boyfriend, Stan. We were all riveted in our seats as the story unfolded in front of us. I was enthralled, I was there—it seemed so real and exciting to me. By the end of the movie, tears were rolling down my cheeks.
I had only known Stan for a short time. He didn’t understand what I was crying about. He thought this a very strange reaction. He turned to Gaye and whispered, “What is she crying about?”
Friends for decades, Gaye knew me well. She softly answered back, gesturing at the great mother ship flying into space:
“She wanted to go.”
I did. Still do.
Some people send out a ship. Some people send out a space ship. Humankind’s spirit of adventure is the wind in the sails of them both. It is what makes us curious, thirst for knowledge, explore. It’s what made Columbus look for a new route to India, what made Madam Curie look for radium, Pasteur search for the cure for rabies, and what landed mankind on the moon. It’s what gets anyone off the couch and out of the house.
Can you look at the stars and not wonder what marvels are out there? Can you look around at this world and not wonder what marvels are down here that you haven’t experienced yet? What sparks your imagination? Expand your vision. Adventures await you. Reach out. Reach up.
Reach for the stars.
“I reach for the stars, and find love, happiness and fulfillment along the way.”
Oh, my goodness, what a wealth of science fiction movies we have now! For someone who grew up reading science fiction, when the brief 3-year run of the original Star Trek in the 60s was all there was to slake our sci fi thirst, the movies we get in this genre now are fantastic! When I was young, I was so anxious for technology to grow faster so we could at least have fabulous movies if not the real thing.
In the 70s, I saw Star Wars on opening day at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. I was with my dear actress friend, Gaye Kruger (yep, the same gal from the story above), and an actor friend of hers named Ty. I’ll never forget it. When the space ships flew overhead in the very beginning of the movie, the audience roared and cheered, and continued for the entire opening battle sequence. We were electrified by the story, the special effects, everything. It was a wonderful group experience, the audience was enthralled as one being, and gave the film a standing ovation. (There is an energy to watching a movie as a group that is entirely missing from watching a movie alone. Don’t you feel that?)
After the movie, the three of us went back to Gaye’s apartment where we called Mark Hamill, who played the young hero, Luke Skywalker. Gaye knew him from a film project and I had met him before on several commercial auditions. When I grabbed the phone, I just raved about the movie and his performance. I remember he was so tickled we liked it and kept saying, “Really? You really liked it? I’m so glad!”
Isn’t that cute? Of course, this was before it took off – no one knew that this little film was going to be a huge juggernaut and the highest grossing film of all time for many years. It’s fun to think about that now in hindsight.
“To boldly go where no man has gone before”…that’s what all creative artists do. No matter what cost or outcome. I thank God and my lucky stars for all the people who follow their star and go.
What star are you following?