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April 29, 2011 / philosophermouseofthehedge

glass carriages: princesses and astronauts

Clash of images:  of fairy tales and sciences

Royal wedding in London.  Last Space Shuttle Launch in Florida

Clashing cultures.  Different continents.  Different focuses.  Different purposes.

 But both at “ends”

Both questioned with swirling controversy:  Too expensive, unnecessary, outdated.

 Who needs fairy tales or princesses in flowing dresses or traditions weighted in gold?

Needed about as much as fuel belching rockets to nowhere bringing back little that will feed children.

Wake-up dreamers.

Fairy tale wedding:  an elaborate dance

A shared fantasy for  a day, momentary relief from the drudgery and harsh everyday reality

Archaic glass carriage with gold gilded designs.

Sleek prancing teams of horses harnessed with regal red and gold.

Once practical mode of transportation – in those days of olde.

Waving standards, banners, and enigmatic coats of arms – elaborate symbols of heritage, family, and holdings

(Replaced by practical passports, plastic bank cards, cell phones, and photo IDs)

Lines of attentive soldiers in smashing bright uniforms, towering hats,and archaic swords or staffs. Stiffly ceremoniously strutting – looking neither left nor right.

(No life-saving bend-in camouflage or self-defensive stances or  practical battlefield drills here)

 In ceremonial street pageantry or battlefield charges – no smiling, no levity appropriate in either case.

Yet another small army was smiling, and very willing though:

The multitudes involved in hours of preparation – all laboring for the glowing princess bride,

The ceremonial bride’s dress – the design guarded as closely as a state secret.

Totally original. Unique creation. Specialized for this one occasion

Destined to represent the generation of this princess bride.

Something to dream of

Hand stitched – Surely a labor of love by seamstresses counting themselves honored to play such a role in history.  Rare fine threads carefully pushed and pulled into neat precise seams. Although the naked eye will not ever discern the careful placement of each thread  – only seeing the whole.  Each tiny stitch between lace, and satin critical to hold the design true.  Each dependent on the other – the whole, the sum of the parts…meaning materials or the seamstresses of the princess bride?

Crowning her head, a shining tiara – as traditions demands.  Heavy, it sits – weighs down thin veil she peeks through while taking the long walk…a walk into history with eyes round the world watching.

No ordinary day. no ordinary walk. No ordinary attire.

Carefully treading: one step then another;  Carefully remembering.  Carefully leaving the ordinary behind.

This odd out of date ceremony captured for eternity by media and cameras

Pictures taking on a life of their own instantaneously viewed around the world

The designated route lined with crowds – not caring a fig for dissenting views

 Just wanting to say “I was there, too”.

Just wanting to be part of history.

Just wanting to dream…

Once people cheered the astronauts as they walked to board for launch –

Now the image glows on TV, but no one pauses their lunch.

Wake up dreamers!

Space travel and astronauts

Surrounded by crowds and pageantry of their own.

The fearless test pilots spinning ’round to test G’s.  The hours spent training: air, land, and in water.  Nothing left to chance.  Repetition.  Followed by repetition.  By memory.  More practice. They prepare for  the big dance.

Astronaut corps attended by their own army:  scientists, technicians, engineers, and doctors.  Without notice or complaints, hours long and devoted.  Dressed in uniforms informal. (pocket protectors? Maybe a few)  Each placing their piece of knowledge into the giant puzzle – preparing for shuttle, rocket, a launch and history.  Surely a labor of love by this team – counting themselves honored to play any role.

Calculating and evaluating – numbers like golden stitches: each carefully measured, carefully placed.

Exotic metals, external tiles, piping, and O rings – inventive as needed.

Each carefully considered.  Each checked and rechecked.

All critical to hold the design true.  Each dependent on the other – the whole, the sum of the parts

And seamstresses of a different sort design, cut patterns, and create suitable clothing: protection for a hostile environment

Pressurized suits – not designed for this world.  Secret designs. Sealed seams.

Unique fibers, flame retardant, tough, but  flexible to move an out-in-space dance

Total environment – a personal life raft.

Buck Rogers never imagined!

Totally original. Unique creation. Specialized for this great adventure

And to top it off, some fancy headgear:   Heavy with gadgets, with speakers, microphones, air supply, and best of all a clear visor:

 A personal window for a dance into the stars

A careful performance – all planned and overly practiced.

A walk into history with eyes round the world watching – captured for eternity by cameras and media

Pictures taking on a life of their own instantaneously viewed

No ordinary day. no ordinary walk. No ordinary attire.

Carefully treading: one step then another;  Carefully remembering.  Carefully leaving the ordinary behind.

Create. Explore.  Go Beyond.

One last episode before the series comes to a close.

One last time to suit up and go.

An explosive trip

The retiring space shuttle at launch as fragile as the glass carriage.

A shared fantasy on launch day, momentary escape in a dream – ignoring realities far away

The designated launch site shoulder to shoulder with crowds – not caring at all for dissenting views

Aficionados ignore the trifling:  It’s just too expensive.  It’s not safe.  It’s not worth doing.

 Just wanting to say, “I was there, too”.

Just wanting to be part of history

Just wanting to dream….

Events occur.  It’s done.  It’s over and gone.

One for the books – if anyone later cares to look.

Happily ever after – that’s how everything should end.

But true to original fairy tales and scientific experiments, there’s always the unexpected to spin:

Trials and hardships.  Quests and conquests.

But dreamers dream on.

Come the morning, a simple girl delivered by car, then transformed:  leaving the great stone cathedral – an elevated princess bride – simply enchanting with stars and hope in her eyes.

Above an astronaut thrust too from a comfortable world:  powerfully tossed through the atmosphere – destined also for enchantment and to move among the stars.

Two dreamers – in reality, as far apart as stone is to water.

Both treading carefully.

Both straining to see clearly.

Both the sum and reflection.

Both the hopes and the dreams.

Both stepping from everyday ordinary to heights rarely achieved.

Both, an end.  Both, a beginning.

Contemplatively yours,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

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