Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Satellite

The distance between things has increased. The night sky hangs lonely and still over a traffic jam on a freeway. There are a few stars. There is a plane. There is a city with all its lights on, and next to the city, there is a huge forest. The forest is burning. A satellite blinks once, then blinks again as the night sky turns a shade of yellow. The parade of license plates on the freeway blurs as my head slips from my arm to the surface of my desk.
I open my eyes standing on the shoulder of a satellite that hovers above the world. I am wearing my pajamas. I am in space wearing my pajamas. My pajamas have sailboats on them. The sailboats hover above the world; the satellite and I sweep across the upper atmosphere. I forget the horizontal and vertical, the up and down, the side to side. I simply exist above, weightless.
Together the satellite and I gather images of landscapes and continents and storm clouds from a point high above any of the fears of the world. At first we see the world like everyone else sees it on TV, a deep voice saying: This is planet EARTH-our one and only home. A massive globe slowly spinning. Blue, green and white shapes appearing to barely move.
I try to look for my house but I can’t find it. I try and locate all the lines that define the states and keep taxes out of New Hampshire but I don’t see any. All I see is a shape that resembles North America and another that looks like Greenland. I can’t be too sure because I’ve never been too good at geography and nothing has a name in bold face written across it like it does in class. Even if it did, I still couldn’t see it from here. From here the entire Earth seems untouched and unchanged. Space is colder than I thought. The sails of the boats along my thighs don’t move as I shiver.
I tell the satellite that we should get closer. The satellite blinks and drifts to the left; it drifts more to the left and then blinks again. Suddenly the state of the world shifts and places I have never seen before are revealed. The satellite zooms in and I see what it sees: oceans begin to move and twitch and ripple slowly. I see the Rocky Mountains and they look like a backbone to me. There is a deep cut tearing into the earth near the bottom left of the country. I see swamps and the grids of cities. We are close enough now to feel the pull of the continent. We are close enough to see the landscapes of the nation defined in silent beauty. I look for my house again. I still can’t see any lines. And then, without notice, the satellite disappears and I fall from space with nothing to hold onto.

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