Wednesday, 11 November 2009
“It's only when gravity starts to take over you begin to think about your body.”
-David Soul, AKA ‘Hutch’ from Starsky and Hutch
I’m soaring up to the planet’s boundary, to what is technically space, vast and freezing. The land I know as home, it feels- and is- distant and I miss it already.
The curvature of the Earth is clearly visible. It was daytime when I left Earth; right now, the time of day can’t be classified. It feels like night, like the time on Scout camp when we crept out of the tent and lay gazing at the stars. It’s colder now, though. And there are an incalculable number of galaxies blinking at me, millions of light years away. The universe, sprawling, is scattered haphazardly in every direction. But when I look back down at the Earth- which is incomprehensibly immense- the stars vanish from my peripheral vision and the glow of my home planet is all I can see. The ground looks rocky and uninhabited, but in that rugged terrain there are entire cities teeming with life, reminding me of how truly small I am- how small we all are.
And then I fall.
There’s a blurry ache in my chest that used to be a recognisable heartbeat- my pulse is so high that every artery wants to escape my skin and live forever in the clouds. My back arches. I’m forced by gravity to look upwards- the blackness of space has already disappeared and I’m surrounded by blue ozone. An occasional wisp of cirrus cloud whips across my face like speeding fog, leaving cold moisture on my skin to be dragged backwards over my scalp.
I’ve never been so conscious of the air around me, yet despite this- and now, because of the velocity of my own body through this air- I can’t breathe any of it in.
The detail of the land below me, albeit minimal, becomes clearer and spreads wider like a dramatic camera trick I’ve seen in countless flashy films. I can see the rugged texture of farmland. The ocean is out of sight.
I’m almost home.