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Heading Nowhere

My Favorite Things

There’s a delightful song that features a laundry list of items Oscar Hammerstein believed to fit into the category of the most favorite things belonging to a pre-World War II novice-turned-governess.  In my version, I’d prefer that the wild geese that fly were instead plucked clean and their outerwear stuffed into a 400-thread-count pillow.  Long ago I traded in my white dress and blue satin sash for a pair of comfortable flip flops, a conservative bikini and an afternoon poolside in the dry, desert sun.  I adore bright copper pennies and crisp dollar bills, hollow, metal wind chimes that peel in a gentle breeze, and autumns that skip over winter and go directly into spring.  These happen to be a few of my favorite things.

Not everything that delights me stems from the simplicity of life, so add elements of technology to the virtual list.  I enjoy zipping through the ePass lane on the city’s toll roads, waving gleefully at the drivers tossing their coins.  I adore the myriad of streaming informational podcasts that accompany me on a straight stretch of road, especially the ones that describe the features of a gorgeous mountain summit that I have visited in my past, allowing my mental imagery to transform the poker-straight 528 highway into the curving, twisting, winding climb up the Going-To-The-Sun Road.  I never overlook an opportunity to read articles about the simple, yet vastly important exploits of my most favorite space craft: Voyager.

I Have Left the Solar System

Interspersed in my Twitter feed this week between the implosion of Egypt and photographic highlights from the National Park Service, a physicist from my alma mater and NASA’s chief Voyager scientist spend nine paragraphs debating whether or not my lovely little space oddity has departed the solar system. (Nine’s a fun number, a baseball number, a gestational number, and the number of years I spent on planet Earth before Voyager left said planet to visit Jupiter and Saturn.)  As the two cerebrals present their brief cases about the significance, or lack thereof, of a magnetic field that may or may not have been crossed, Voyager travels onward, “Basically it’s just happily heading out toward … pretty much nowhere.”

I disagree, Mr. Scientist.  Voyager heads towards everywhere – towards everything.  The entire galaxy, the entire universe, lies ahead of Voyager, and ahead of me.  As I prepare to leave behind the life I know, I wonder if my departure will mark a noticeable exiting across the office threshold as Mr. NASA suspects, or if suddenly the world I know will glance around and realize I have left the solar system in which my life currently hovers without any fanfare or acknowledgment of my departure.  Voyager and I propel ourselves forward, not with any real purpose other than our own initiative, headed towards everywhere.  Let’s see where we go.  And be assured I’ll be taking my feather pillow with me into the universe.

Read about Voyager here n.pr/1bLqhaa and here voyager.jpl.nasa.gov and here .nasa.gov/mission_pages/voyager.  Read about me here.

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About Pam Portland

For a decade and a half I worked behind a series of desks, peeking out from around my computer monitor. Seeing the United States in bits and pieces wasn't enough to satisfy me, so I am grabbing my virtual pen and taking flight. Welcome along!

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