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Another Day in the Country

Grateful for gravity

© Another Day in the Country

Gravity is pretty much something we pay very little mind to until we trip, and in the moment, we still probably don’t think about gravity.

We bemoan our clumsiness or someone else’s thoughtlessness, pick ourselves up, and go on.

Mind you, I’m not approaching gravity in a scientific mode, but a practical one.

I’ve been reading a book by Scott Kelly called “Endurance,” about his life path toward becoming an astronaut, as well as his year-long stay in outer space orbiting our Earth.

Of all the challenges he experienced — isolation from family, eating strange pre-packaged food, living in a confined space — the one that struck me as most difficult to deal with was weightlessness.

As I lay in bed reading about how he slept in space, I just sank onto my old mattress, ran my toes over the sheets, and snuggled deeper under the quilt, giving thanks for these mundane things we enjoy every night.

I have new appreciation for dirt that falls onto the floor and crumbs I can swish off the tablecloth to be swept up later. Without gravity, that dirt I tracked in from the yard would be in the air, floating around with food crumbles and that blurp of gravy I accidently spilled on the tablecloth. Without gravity, I couldn’t use a tablecloth, plates, or even eat in any normal way.

All those revelations came from reading that book.

Can you imagine going a year without being able to take a bath or even a shower? I’d never thought about the fact that in space you can’t even wash your clothes.

So, while I’m gathering up laundry from the floor, I’m giving thanks for gravity, which allows me to dump it all in the washing machine for a swish and spin. Later, my fresh smelling, clean clothes are ready to put away.

“Putting away” is something that became routine in space, I read. With all that floatability, it was really easy to lose things. I think the record time for something to be lost was eight years — and they knew that only because they found something that belonged to an astronaut that had once been up in space.

For 350 of the days into his space mission, Scott didn’t allow himself to even think about how long it was until he headed for home.

When he finally began his countdown, he made a list of things he wanted to experience. It included “green seedless grapes, strawberries, salad stuff, Cabernet, green Gatorade, and a 6-pack of Miller High Life,” among other things.

He said that people are always asking him what he misses from Earth. It is simple things, he said, like cooking and chopping fresh food, even the sight of fresh produce in a grocery store.

So, my friend, the next time you go into your local grocery store, drink in the sight of that lovely arrangement of veggies and fruit from all over the world just waiting for you to pick and choose. Thanks to gravity, they just lay there, arranged nicely, waiting for you to take them home.

While I haven’t thought a lot about gravity, I do give constant thanks for this beautiful planet we live on, complete with all the elements we need to survive: air, water, sunlight, food, and then there is gravity. Every day I’m challenged to conserve and respect our one and only natural habitat.

Scott wrote, “Personally, I’ve learned that nothing feels as amazing as water.”

The night he got home he walked through the house, went out the back door, and jumped straight into the pool, still with his flight suit on!

“The sensation of being immersed in water for the first time in a year is impossible to describe,” he said.

“I’ve learned that grass smells great and wind feels amazing and rain is a miracle. I will try to remember how magical these things are for the rest of my life,” says Scott Kelly, the man who spent a year in space.

It sounds a lot like spending another day in the country, to me.

Last modified Dec. 7, 2017

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