Friday, February 7, 2014

It's a Nice Day.

Prompt #5: "You are an Astronaut. Describe your perfect day."

My favorite day is... actually a little corny, I guess you could say. Most people would think it's the day you get chosen for the mission, or the day you landed on the moon, or even the days it takes to go to and from. Honestly, though, I think my perfect day would have to be the day we landed back on Earth.

I mean, there's definitely something amazing about launch day. All that training that goes into that moment makes the payoff a little sweeter, and you can just feel the power in the rocket lifting you into the air. It's not enough to prepare you for what's next, though. There's this... surreal feeling as you exit the atmosphere that's almost like... leaving reality. It's the first time that you truly see the entire world in a new perspective. Then, of course, there's the obvious change of gravity. Everything is so much lighter, so weightless. You are so far away from everything you've known, that even life's stresses lose their weight. Then, being on the moon is just incredible, of course. It's such an alien landscape. Something that seems so familiar at home is this... completely different thing once you are up there. It's beautiful, but dangerous, which only lends to it's beauty, I think.

But, coming back, which is a three day trip, by the way. That's a trip unlike anything else. The last day, the arrival, is more surreal than the trip out. I remember the last hours so vividly. It was a blue canvas with splashes of green and strokes of white at first. As we got closer, though, more colors appeared. Soon, we could see yellows and reds in the deserts, then the bright outline of shores. Then we could differentiate different blues in the waters. Visually, it was like watching the world paint itself back into the pictures that we could all recognize. Physically, as we entered the atmosphere, it shook us back to reality. We were back in the familiar pull of our home's once inescapable gravity. The occasional turbulence of different pieces of our vehicle being released as our own weight came back to us. Then the parachute comes out, and we begin the slow decent. Enough time to think about everything we've done. It's hardly believable, though. Looking up at the sky and thinking 'Were we really just out there? For so long?' Not long ago, it was only being dreamed of, and that's what it seemed like. A dream.

But my favorite part of that day, bar none was after all of that. After we were picked up, and taken back, we did what we had been waiting to do for a long while. Meeting our friends and family again. Not to tell them about all the things we've seen, although we did, of course. I can't speak for my fellow travelers, of course, but my reasons were a little selfish. When I had that moment, the one where you see family after a long break, it felt the same as launch day. Seeing the smiles they had, and hugging loved ones. It all felt weightless, like all worries and troubles had been left floating somewhere far away once again. That was my favorite day.

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