During the first year of the Covid pandemic I eschewed being connected to the collective while returning to the basics, as in watching television. Being born in 1950 means I am a so-called “baby boomer.” It may have been better to have called we boomers “TV watchers,” as the tube was our pacifier. There was no school on Saturday. There were, though, many child oriented programs emanating from the box. One of my favorites was Sky King.
“From out of the clear blue of the western sky comes Sky King” was the familiar opening to television’s premier aviation program. Operating from his Flying Crown Ranch in Arizona, Sky King, his niece Penny and their Cessna 310 airplane “Songbird” were constantly involved in one adventure after another.
I must have had a crush on Penny before I knew what was a crush…
Fast forward about six decades or so and there was I once again sitting in front of the telly, as the Brits say, watching Saturday morning programs with my coffee. Only now the women with bright smiles are scientists, or at least report on science on the program, Exploration Station. (https://www.xplorationstation.com/)
After purchasing the Dude (it’s a Dell) I vowed to continuing watching the Saturday morning science shows with my first cuppa java at least until my eyes focused. That did not happen. So this morning I decided to turn on the TV and watch an episode of Exploration Station: Nature Knows Best.
Then came Exploration Station: Outer Space,
which was followed by Exploration Station: Awesome Planet…
The coffee was followed by cereal and that hour and a half may be the best part of the day. Granted, the programs are for children, but what am I other than an old child? I’m too old to have a crush, so it must be a thing I have for Dani and Emily…they each have such a nice smile.
I mention this because during the Outer space episode one of the astronauts mentioned how thin is the layer of atmosphere that allows us to exist. I read a couple of things about atmosphere this week that remained in my brain, so I did some research and found them:
“The view of Earth is absolutely spectacular, and the feeling of looking back and seeing your planet as a planet is just an amazing feeling. It’s a totally different perspective, and it makes you appreciate, actually, how fragile our existence is. You can look at Earth’s horizon and see this really, really thin royal blue line right along the horizon, and at first you don’t really quite internalize what that is, and then you realize that it’s Earth’s atmosphere, and that that’s all there is of it, and it’s about as thick as the fuzz on a tennis ball, and it’s everything that separates us from the vacuum of space.” – Sally Ride (https://www.garrisonkeillor.com/radio/twa-the-writers-almanac-for-may-26-2021/)
by Tim Nolan
Down the block a garage band plays
“Isn’t She Lovely” —here’s a kind of wealth
even if the song is fractured—and listening
tonight to the sequence of birds—I mean
their unintended consequences—is wealth—
and today I followed all the plays—each
count around the baseball diamond—no one
expected their due—the outs were out
and some of the runners were safe—there was
sense in the blue sky—it could all go
beyond nine innings—whatever—I mean
everyone agreed and understood this passing—
this endless passing of time—was a kind of wealth—
and our atmosphere would be enough—the trees
would frame the sky and the sky would be
beyond belief—so blue—as in Mediterranean Blue—
and Odysseus would come home—as he was
compelled to—sunburned, vagrant—and wealthy.
Tim Nolan, “Wealth” from The Sound of It. Copyright © 2008 by Tim Nolan. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of New Rivers Press, newriverspress.com. (https://www.garrisonkeillor.com/radio/twa-the-writers-almanac-for-may-26-2021