Tonight I heard my President call for America to respond to a "Sputnik moment." It was, in a sense, a call to arms. I liked this call. In October of 1957, Russian scientists launched a beach ball-sized satellite into space in a move that rocked this country and kicked off a race to stab a flag into the dusty surface of the moon. The spirit of competition that spurred us to win that race was unfortunately mired in fear and distrust. What President Obama is hoping for in this case, I think, is for the American people to seize on an opportunity to surge ahead in the world based on something much more positive.
Even with the lagging recovery of our economy, even with our high unemployment rate, ours remains to be a great, resourceful nation. We are smart, strong, and wealthy, and underneath the blanket of icy deficits and corporate scandals, still there springs a blade of optimism.
It's what we're raised to believe here in the United States: that we are the greatest nation in spite of what anyone else has to say, in spite of evidence to the contrary. In our worst moments, that belief sounds and appears arrogant. Arrogance taints foreign policy, corporate cooperation, and even entrepreneurship. But once we've been knocked down a peg or two by the realities of commerce and a shrinking globe, the seeds of that arrogance which remain embedded within each of us can be relied upon to quicken our own recovery. Blind patriotism may be ignorant, but stubborn patriotism, well-worn patriotism, patriotism with a little scar tissue... that might just kick start us again.
Innovation. I wish I had the mind for it. Jonathan does. I've watched him conceive brand new ideas and implement them dozens of times. When he thinks, he moves laterally, diagonally, outside of the space in which all normal people reside. His is the mind of an explorer, an astronomer. I can only hitch my wagon to his star when it comes to innovation. But I am happy to lend what talents I do have to the recording of his innovations, and that's precisely the point.
Somewhere there is a plane buzzing across an azure sky, a big one. It shuttles people across oceans, countries, continents. Most of those people are merely traveling, and having been one of them fairly frequently over the past six years, I envy them both the journey and the return home.
But some passengers are doing something else far more permanent. The homes they have left behind them are vacant, doors locked and lights off. Rather than saying 'Goodbye' to their loved ones at the airport gate, they hugged longer, kissed harder, and said 'Farewell.' These other people aren't coming back anytime soon. They are relocating. And in less than ten days, I will no longer be able to refer to that determined group as 'They,' for soon it will include my husband and me. Soon we will be on our way to Norway.
Somewhere there is a boat, a cargo ship whose bulk and breadth I cannot comprehend. She is doubtless a mathematical and mechanical wonder, forging prow-first through waves many, many stories high. That boat holds cargo containers the size of a train's boxcars as ably as I might handle boxes of matches. The boxes are strapped down, bolted to the floor and the ships' sides because the ocean treats gravity like a chew toy. Inside one of those containers are contents of my life.