Tonight, at 8:15pm NASA launched a rocket from Wallops Island Flight Facility, VA. The rocket carries a record 29 satellites to be deployed once in orbit. With just two minutes to go, a perfectly clear sky and the U-Stream live coverage of the launch on my phone, I bundled up and stepped outside with my family to try and catch a glimpse of the rocket in the night sky.
We weren’t really sure what we were looking for, but as soon as we saw the live liftoff on the phone, we began scanning the sky in the approximate direction of the launch. About 20 seconds after liftoff we found the glowing orange ball in the sky. The girls were excited; pointing and yelling and jumping up and down. We’ve watched spectacular meteor showers and gazed at giant moons together. We’ve sat in the grass as the fireflies danced around us, but this was the first time we’ve seen a rocket launch. Pretty darn cool.
We were all filled with such a sense of wonder. It made us feel both tiny in the scope of the Universe and important at the same time, witnessing something rare and precious. The excitement the girls felt melted into wonder and we stood quietly for a few minutes as the orange glow faded and was then gone.
Mirriam-Webster defines wonder as “a feeling caused by seeing something that is very surprising, beautiful, or amazing,” but to me the definition is lacking somewhat. It doesn’t seem to encompass the totality of the feeling, although I am at a loss about how to improve that definition. I hope you’ve experienced true wonder. I know as children we can be filled with wonder about so many things. It’s rarer to experience it regularly as an adult, but it does seem rather vital. I remember the first piece of art that inspired wonder in me – I was in Europe after graduating college and in a museum, I came across Rodin’s “The Kiss” and I stood transfixed. We saw a lot of art that trip and nothing affected me the same way.
What we saw tonight is what happens when someone is brilliant enough to merge science and creativity. The specialness, maybe even the sacredness of what we saw tonight cannot adequately be put into words. I hope though, that you have experienced true wonder because then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I want my daughters’ childhoods to be filled with as many moments of wonder as possible so they learn to recognize it later in life and then pass the experience on to their own children. I think tonight was one of those nights for them that they’ll remember, I hope so at least. I know I’ll remember.
Today is day 18 in the National Blog Posting Month challenge.