And so, I was not a military test pilot, but as soon as NASA expressed an interest in flying scientists and people who were not military test pilots, that was an epiphany that just came like a stroke of lightning.
I didn’t wish those tragedies upon the people who played them out. It was certainly tragic for them, but not for me. All of those things brought me to where I am. Without those things, I couldn’t be who I am, I wouldn’t be here.
I feel particularly close to them, because I am now out in the universe. I’m in a position to see nature from another point of view, to be outside the earth and see the big picture.
I have a great relationship with animals, and with children. I get to their level. I try to see the way a child looks at the world, it’s hugely different.
I never read a single book as a child. I did not read as a child. I worked on the farm. I had books in the classroom, but that was it. I never read a single book outside of the classroom.
I think there are huge lessons there, for young people who are getting started in life, as well as other people. And that is, to take responsibility for your own life. Only you are responsible for the course you take from there.
I would have taken whatever hand I was dealt. Space was it.
I’m such a long-term investor, I’ve never really let go and celebrated what I did with the Hubble telescope.
I’ve already written 300 space poems. But I look upon my ultimate form as being a poetic prose. When you read it, it appears to be prose, but within the prose you have embedded the techniques of poetry.
If we ever start communicating with living creatures from other planets, the number one priority is, how are you going to communicate information? Even between different cultures here on Earth, you get into communication problems.
It’s hard to say what drives a three year-old, but I think I had a sense that nature was my solace, and nature was a place in which there was beauty, in which there was order.
Most of our history in space has been communicated in terms of action – what people do, a chronological list of events which have transpired – as opposed to the human experience of having done those things.
Poetry is its own medium; it’s very different than writing prose. Poetry can talk in an imagistic sense, it has particular ways of catching an environment.
That I learned even as a three year-old that I see this world that is really a mess and I learned to say, this is not me. I am not the one that is messed up. It is out there.
The statistics of life out there and the statistics of intelligent beings and advanced civilization is a certainty, the way I look at it. that It has not been accepted, because we’ve been in an anthropocentric era.
The way you remember the past depends upon your hope for the future. And if what you see in your future has no hope, it has no potential, then you view the past that brought you to here as not very good.
Their spirituality was in nature, even though Emerson was a preacher on the pulpit, he ended up going out into nature for direct, face-to-face communication with God, if you want to call all of this creation part of God.
There really isn’t a time to pause and have a celebration. I feel so serious about the whole thing.
When you’re looking that far out, you’re giving people their place in the universe, it touches people. Science is often visual, so it doesn’t need translation. It’s like poetry, it touches you.