Today should be about rockets and things, but I’m in the wrong part of Florida for that. Journeys have been on my mind today, and as often happens when I’m thinking of going places, I headed over to the railroad tracks. Trains epitomize journeys for me, especially journeys into the unknown. When we were kids and came down to Florida on vacations, my brothers and cousins would hop trains and ride them here or there to explore. This was the provenance of the big kids, not meant for the likes of me, so it always seemed somewhat mysterious, and unknown.
Today, a man who went on the greatest, most mysterious, and unknown journey ever has died. This is not what I planned to write about as I walked along the tracks; I didn’t know about it until I was back home again, but tracks or rockets, it’s all about journeys. Neil Armstrong was the first man to ever set foot on the moon, to fulfill a dream so great that the idea is still overwhelming more than 40 years later. How does one get the courage to fulfill a dream like that, hurtling into space with so many unknowns?
As humans, most of us are born with some sense of adventure. I generally satisfy mine in rather tame ways, such as photographing alligators and dreaming of trains. Others like to go bungee jumping, riding roller coasters, or sailing in a huge expanse of sea. Many children dream of exploring new lands, or new universes, but very few get to actually do it. Most of us will continue to live our small adventures, and look to others for the large adventures.
The names of so many pioneers are lost to time. We don’t know who set sail for the first time, nor who first set out across a spit of land to get to another continent. I hope that time will never remove the respect and awe we have for Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.