Monday, March 16, 2009

Remarkable Events

The Tail from the Space Shuttle Launch -
One of the Remarkable Events Celebrated aboard
Meredith last evening
Look carefully to the right of the tail - you can see
a small pinpoint of light, the shuttle on its way.

The breeze was up a bit, just enough to slowly erode the oppressive heavy heat of the day. We had spent the afternoon strolling about the local "Art in the Park" and enjoying long slow talks with our children. A perfect Sunday afternoon.

The evening improved. Knowing there was a shuttle launch scheduled we invited friends Benoit and Andree from Douce Folie V to dinner and the show. Sam's Club provided some 2 inch thick steaks and the intention was that they would form dinner almost on their own.

Ben and Andree arrived with a couple bottles of wine and some additions to the appetizers and our evening began.

In addition to the shuttle launch we were all in a celebrating mood. After months of crossing each other's path as we each made our way down the waterway we had taken separate routes on arriving in Florida. We were happy to have a reunion.

So too were Ben and Andree for they brought with them a bottle of champaigne to celebrate. And not just any bottle of champaigne but a bottle corked at the Perceval winery in the champaige district of France - Perceval being the family name of Ben's brother in law. The Brother in Law had made the wine. Fantastic.

We discovered that Andree had retired effective January 2009 and had received her first pension cheque. This called for a whole new celebration and we brought out our last bottle of Veuve Cliquot which we had had chilling in anticipation of an excuse to be opened. Meredith was enjoying a recent business success and all parties were ready. To party of course.

Our evening began with champers, Asiago and Blue cheese, Greek Peppers, Calamata olives from Andree. We sat in animated conversation - the only kind of conversation one can have with Ben. Discussion with Ben is like an evening at the symphony - the players are ideas and he conducts and coordinates the intensity and timing of their flow with exquisite precision.

He is the only man I have met who has more opinions than Bob.

About an hour prelaunch a crowd of shuttle watchers began to build on the bridge in front of Meredith. By launch time the bridge, at least half to 3/4 of a mile in span, was packed with keen observers.

The line of onlookers (little bumps)
is just visible along the bridge

All at once the crowd began to cheer. Being 80 feet higher than Meredith the bridgewatchers could see the launch in the darkening sky nearly a minute before we could.

The launch was nothing short of majestic. A long tail of flame as the propellant burned, or exploded I guess, to move the incredible mass of a shuttle, first from the surface of planet earth and then, more significantly, from the gravity well our home represents. One physicist, watching an earlier launch, commented that NASA was burning a 1,000 dinosaurs a sec ond to effect the mission.

We watched the slow steady progress of the launch vehicle making its way eastward towards the dawn sky. How slowly it moved through the sky from our perspective.

When the first stage of the rocket separated we caught a photo of the tail, which you saw above. After 20 minutes the shuttle was long out of sight but its tail was still visible, reflecting light from the dieing sun declining in the west.

When sailing there are many ways to enjoy a perfect evening. None are planned, they just happen.

All you need are the right people.

No comments:

Post a Comment