A Poet in Space

15 July 2013
11:35 PM
Manila

M.–

I am enjoying reading about your travels. Nevertheless don’t feel like it’s an obligation to write, especially if it gets in the way of truly enjoying the things around you. I would rather you find places of interest instead of an internet spot–I don’t want our correspondence to interfere with self-discovery and pursuit of adventure.

I would miss your letters, but it’s a small price to pay in exchange for the stories you would tell when you get back. I’m sure you are taking down notes and writing your thoughts in your notebook everywhere you go–it’s easy to imagine you sitting down somewhere, taking it all in, watching people come and go, feeling the breeze in your hair.

Of course, there must also be an urge to write it down now. To recreate the details at a later time would not exactly capture what you’re feeling at the moment–you could come close, but it will never be the same again. In which case, I would understand, too, your need to update. All I’m saying is–take your time. Zone out if you want. It’s great to be on holiday time. Rest. Pause. You can always come back later (and on the technical side of things, I can help you backdate your letters so they will be posted on the proper date).

Since I am stuck home and will not be traveling any time soon, I want to share with you instead some travel entries from Col. Chris Hadfield’s blog. Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut who recently returned to Earth last May. He was the commander of Expedition 35 (you can read about the crew’s mission here). It was his third and last spaceflight.

He wrote and took photos while he was still in space:


April 30, 2013
Ancient Saharan stone, burnished by eternal sand and wind.


April 27, 2013
A Dali watch on an alligator wristband – Mexico.


April 25, 2013
In proportion, our atmosphere is no thicker than the varnish on a globe. Deceptively fragile.


April 20, 2013
Catching the Moon rising takes patience, but is worth it.


March 6, 2013
From Edinburgh to Stirling and all the way to Loch Lomond. A rare view of Scotland from space.

Here he is singing David Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded on board the International Space Station:

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

How tiny we all are. Just a speck in the universe.

Goodnight,
T.

All photos are by Col. Chris Hadfield and are borrowed from his blog.

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2 thoughts on “A Poet in Space

  1. You are a life saver. I should have read your blog before posting my own. Thats what I’ll do now — handwrite my posts in my own notebooks and earmark some great photos. So ignore my post request, and just know I’m still reflecting, despite my disconnection.

    M

  2. Pingback: Walt and Walt | Awake & Asleep

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