The sun appears to sink below the ocean’s surface and gives that final flash of light, leaving the sky above to tell the tale of what was another beautiful sunset.
But I see more than just the beautiful colors.
Why do I see more? I think it all started when I was a young boy (preteen) and got hooked on science fiction. That was in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s when the first satellite was launched (Sputnik in 1957) and when the USSR and the US were engaged in a space race.
Like many young boys of my generation, I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to leave the bounds of this Earth and see the universe without the interference of our life sustaining atmosphere. My imagination was captured. My life path was set. I wanted to join the Air Force, learn to fly jets, and then apply to NASA to become one of the elite team of space explorers so vividly engraved in my imagination.
Then life took over. My eyes went from 20/20 to 20/400 in a matter of only a few months. Imagine how I was devastated. All of my dreams smashed by something beyond my control. I guess I started learning life’s lessons early. Things seldom go as well as you have planned. So what next?
Well, if I couldn’t be an astronaut, how about an astronomer? That seemed like a good alternative. So, I studied hard in high school, particularly in the fields of science and mathematics. I did well. I got two scholarships that allowed me to study astronomy at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. Again, I love it when a plan comes together. Then life intervened again (doesn’t it always?).
Guess what. I liked college life, joined a fraternity, married my high school sweetheart, and found the best jobs that I could to support my family. None of these were bad things. They just were not part of my original plan.
I won’t regale you with all of the details from this point until my retirement. There are many good stories that may get related in future posts. Let’s just say, with retirement came freedom. The day I retired I started work on my first science fiction novel. In the novel I describe how Earth came to be the way it is today with some help from the Nu (an ancient extra-galactic race of beings with their own agenda that included bringing humanity into existence for their own purposes).
How does this relate to our topic today?
Let’s try to bring this back to what I see with the sun disappearing over the horizon.
- I see the Earth rotating on its axis once every 24 hours giving the sun its apparent motion from sunrise to sunset
- I see the atmosphere holding in all of the water that is so near and dear to us in sustaining our lives
- I see the warmth of the Sun at just the right distance from Earth to maintain the temperature where water can exist in its liquid state. If we were closer to the sun, it would all boil away. If we were farther from the sun, it would stay frozen for all eternity. In either case, we wouldn’t be around to enjoy those sunsets
- I see the sun as a common star and one of billions in our galaxy. I see the possibilities in all of those other billions of stars for other intelligent life
- I see us escaping our solar system some time in the next century to make us a space faring race that is not dependent upon only one planet circling one small star in a small corner of this single galaxy
All of these ideas drive me to write, to put my thoughts on paper (or the virtual paper that all of us use every day). There are so many possibilities for our future, and I want to be a part of it in my own small way.
I only have so much time left to write because I am on that slippery slope on the other side of 50 years old and I seem to be accelerating rapidly toward 100. Maybe if I write enough, I can keep those pesky old brain cells firing long enough to get all of my ideas out in stories that other people will enjoy. Maybe I can accomplish this before my personal sunset.