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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dreams Unfulfilled

As a boy there where many thoughts of adventure and journeys. I remember standing on my grand father’s pier on a lake in Wisconsin. Peering through the water of the lake with a flashlight and seeing a fish at least 3 feet in length scouring for minnows in water not much deeper than the fish itself. I remember the excitement of that moment, thinking I am going to catch that monster fish. Running back up to the house and grabbing my gear I ran back down to the water only to find my monster prize gone.
I was determined to catch this fish. I threw out my line to where it was and waited quietly. An hour passed and it did not return. My Father came down and informed me I had to go to bed. I told him about the fish and how badly I wanted to catch it. He did not perceive how much this meant to me and grabbed me by the hand taking me to bed. I tossed and turned dreaming about this wonderful fish. Suddenly waking up and knowing I had to give it one more attempt. So I snuck out of the house, made my way back to the lake and tried again. Still no fish. Suddenly my father appeared, angry, Gary, Back to bed he screamed at me. This time I decided I would leave the rod-Wrapping the line several times around the pier support pole, and dutifully returning to bed. I woke up early sometime around 6am, ran down to the pier and realized I had hooked my prize. The line was almost completely gone from my reel I had to jump into the water and follow the line as it was pulled around the pier, over to the neighbor’s pier, around the supports there. Then nothing. The line was broken. I was crushed. My fish had gotten away.
Today at 54 I often think about the things I was never able to do. Places I have wanted to go. Adventures unfulfilled. A space journey was always something I have fantasized about. Born in the early fifties through out my lifetime I have watched untold numbers of sci-fi movies. Watched as Man stepped on the moon for the very first time. From the writings of Jules Verne to the show Start Trek I felt I would be destined to step towards the stars one day. Sadly this never happened. I sometimes feel like life has cheated me out of the adventure in living. Missing the glory days of the 1800’s. The rise of the USas a world power. Cattle ranching, the building of a nation from the land. The ability to just hop on horse, take a ride to somewhere no one had ever been-and saying. This here spot is now mine. Never will I be able to climb into a craft and hit a button and say the galaxy is mine. Where should we go?
Sadly my most vivid memories also seem to be some of the worst. Daily body counts of the dead in Vietnam. Stricken families screaming in grief over the loss of their boy. The agonizing and gut wrenching photos of suffering in wars that have covered the globe. World War 1, World War 2,Korea,Vietnam,The gulf,Africa,Russia,Afganistan,Iraq. The list seems endless. The suffering and pain seem endless. Now the news that the vast oceans of autos,trucks,trains and planes-Are slowly choking the life out of the planet. The modern space age which promised to fulfill the dreams of man is actually killing the very planet we call home.
I start thinking to myself, maybe it is better that we never actually reach the stars. Maybe what we are isn’t something that should be propagated through out the endless reaches of space. Will we take our wars and petty squabbles with us?. Will the basic instincts that make us treat each other so poorly on one world be carried off to 10 or 100 worlds.
Will mankind ever grow up?
Sadly I do not really believe we ever will. All the automation and technology in the universe will not change one simple fact.
As a species we are killers. We harm everything we touch, even the very planet we live on.
We talk the talk-But never ever, seem to make the walk.
So perhaps it is better that when I die my dreams go unfulfilled. The Universe really doesn’t need us.
We can’t even co-exist on the only thing we really have for certain-The Planet Earth

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