February 12, 2011
A friend sent me a web link with some images taken from outer space by astronaut Douglas Wheelock. We use the word fantastic often in speech these days, to the point that the true meaning of the word gets lost. Yet it is the perfect word to describe these photos.
Fan.tas.tic: [fan-tas-tik]: conceived or appearing as if conceived by an unrestrained imagination.
The comments found at the end of the images remind me of how divisive religion can be (even atheists worship something, be it science, personal comfort, future security, or whatever) and how easily language degrades us when we call others idiots who do not agree with our viewpoint. If nothing else, I hope we can agree from these photos that “it’s a small world, after all,” and that we have more in common with each other than the differences that so often divide us. For instance, that Egypt is not so far away from America that we shouldn’t care about their past suffering, and now their liberation.
Visiting San Francisco yesterday, I spoke briefly with an Egyptian man at The Top of the Mark restaurant about the happenings in his native land. We’d never met before and I’m sure I’ll never see him again, yet for a brief moment I participated in his excitement over his country’s new-found freedom. After all, in terms of Egyptian history, which spans several thousands of years, our own “Independence Day” was not really all that long ago.