Austin, meet your new
neighbors: Jen! John! You’re going
to love them. For sure.
Guys! Jen and John have arrived in Austin. This changes everything.
Oh happy day.
Some might call it lazy, but I call recycling this July 2012 post (first shared here on the day after Sally Ride’s death), on the eve of the anniversary of her historical trip into space, a fitting tribute. If Sally “Breaking Barriers” Ride doesn’t deserve a second post, who does, people? Who does? As NPR said this morning, “She was a physicist who took a detour through space.” And changed everything.
When I was very little, before I really understood what my dad did for a living, I used to tell people who’d ask that he was an astronaut. Even after I realized that wasn’t true, that there were no manned space missions in my father’s past, present, or future, I still said it on occasion to my elementary school classmates who couldn’t possibly know better.
When your dad spends his days and nights stargazing, you come to feel a certain ownership over the Universe. Not a God-like ownership, more of a time-share condominium type of arrangement: It’s not yours and yours alone, but you do have a connection and a stake that not everyone can claim; you have a special relationship, the Universe and you. You feel the way the citizens of Green Bay feel about the Packers, I suspect. And the other people who share this unique ownership, well, they’re family.
And while I never personally aspired to be an active family member — to don a spacesuit and follow that uncharted course, exploring solar systems near and far or walking on the moon — when I was ten years old, my cosmic sister Sally Ride showed me and a host of other girls that we could if we wanted to. We could dream big.
Sally Ride died yesterday. She was only sixty one years old, which means she was barely thirty when she changed the world. Just before her 1983 mission, the first for an American woman, she was quoted as saying, “It’s too bad this is such a big deal. It’s too bad our society isn’t further along.” I’m going to spend some time thinking about her today. Thought you guys might want to, too.
Guys, I did a really jerky jerk thing. I forgot my big sis’s birthday. Totally, completely forgot. Which, in the grand scheme, isn’t the worst thing a gal could do, I know. And my big sis is the forgiving sort, luckily. But forgetting her birthday on May 21 – and not remembering that I forgot until two days later – was a wake-up call of sorts for me. That forgetfulness, compounded with other little slips, recent small steps backward – well, let’s just say that I didn’t uproot and change my entire life just to find myself right back where I started. No sir, I did not.
I know it’s been a million years since I last updated you and I’m sure you have lots of questions about what I’ve been up to. Don’t worry, dear readers, all will be revealed in due time. But that’s for tomorrow or the next day. Today, I’m feeling inspired to make some resolutions – to do some course correcting. It’s June 1, guys! And you remember how important June 1 is to me, right? (If not, check out this blog’s entry from June 4, 2012).
Best of all, it’s beginning to feel a lot like summer around here in lovely Austin, TX. The students are heading out of town, the temperature’s heating up, and I’m longing for those idyllic days I enjoyed when I first arrived in 2012. Days when I really didn’t know many people here, but I never felt lonely or bored. I’m longing for dips in cool water, walks around Town Lake, icy and dark movie theaters, afternoon naps, lap swimming at Deep Eddy, yoga at Dharma, mailing postcards and birthday cards (on time!) at the Hyde Park post office, memorizing poetry on evening strolls, getting lost in a good book on a blanket in the shade of a tree; all of it, guys, I’m longing for all of it. Better still, it all feels possible — feels within reach. So here I am on June 1 – poking my head up to say “hello” after a long absence and resolved to getting back to the business of being blissfully blissful, all while staying in touch with each of you. And I’m resolved to send my sister a birthday card. Definitely that, too.
In short (because I’m a bit rusty): It’s June 1. I’m back. Did you miss me?