Did you know Jeff Bezos went to space?
It was twelve days ago, so perhaps you’ve forgotten. Perhaps it never happened. Does the memory live in your brain? Right now, yes, because you’ve just read the words “Bezos went to space.” But what about five minutes ago? And what is this memory, exactly? Do you remember where you were when you learned about it? Does the memory stretch out over hours or days, or does it bring you a sense of feeling angry, excited, or generally bemused? Is it truly a memory or just a simple fact? Does it have thinginess? Does it have physical space? Does it really exist?
“Best day ever!” he said when he landed — or was that a Facebook post I wrote in high school?
“I want to thank every Amazon customer, you paid for this,” he said, as I paid for a pack of urinary-tract-friendly cat food and received zero luminous stars or sub-orbital moments.
The earth’s atmosphere is “this tiny little fragile thing,” he said with great realization as I came down with a tiny cold that exhausted me for a week.
“It’s another thing to actually see with your own eyes how fragile it really is,” he said as smoke from Canadian wildfires died the Wisconsin sun pink.
I went for a run, and there was a cloud, alone and estranged, a circular thing that looked like a spaceship. It was a lenticular cloud. Lenticular clouds typically form on the downwind side of a mountain. There are no mountains in Wisconsin.
The run became a walk. When I got home I fell asleep. I slept for a week, waking to run and do necessary things. It was a body with a tiny cold, exhausted by living. A brain clouded by exhaustion. I didn’t write for a week.
When my spell of tiredness disappeared, I went out for a drink with my mom. We sat at an outdoor table. There was a bird, a house finch, with a broken wing. It wanted to join us, though we had no food. It hopped around on its legs, flapping its good wing when it needed a high jump. It was close enough for me to reach out a fist and smash it, and it wouldn’t be able to fly away. It was bold, testing its limits. Hadn’t the bird already tested enough? Or, with a broken wing, were these brash movements all it had left? I waved my hands to make it go away, but it always came back. I let it come back.
When my cold disappeared, I shouted, “Best day ever!” Then I thanked my body for recovering, with appreciation for this tiny fragile thing.