Close, but

July 10th, 2007

No cigar.

The rocket launch was postponed even before we landed, postponed again, then scrubbed altogether within 24 hours of our arrival. There are no guarantees in this business, the saying was too-easily said, over and over, escalating the injury as we shuffled about in the suffocating heat, the unstinting sun, the sweltering steam of an angry thunderburst that soaked through our clothes and drenched the flimsy shreds of our status as VIPs at a nonevent.

This was no place we’d ever choose to end up, my husband and I agreed, as we drove back and forth over endless, featureless highways across a low landscape, past screaming pink bodacious surf shops and greasy diners plating heaping helpings of fried unimaginables.

And then I found my way over the waters and off the main strip. I nosed down a quiet road to a country church on a Sunday morn and found the marvel that is my lineage. I found a group of strangers who keep alive – in the cool stillness of a near-empty room – the simple truth that was my teacher’s. I see the stray exotic bloom that is the fruit of his life; the harvest of his days. I feel faith renewed and upheld, the faith that is so rarely seen and only subtly discerned. I gave a talk about detaching from outcome. As if I could.

Then today came, easy and slow. This isn’t quite the place I thought. It’s a place of gentle swells and rippling breeze. Where the land sinks, the sky falls, the fronds sway and the manatees loll. This is the peace that is found anywhere when you finally go on vacation, when you leave the confines of mind behind. This is the calm that prevails, my friends, when you are lucky enough to have no ignition.


  1. Those launches are so finicky, aren’t they? Sorry it worked out that way. It’s funny–I grew up in Melbourne (right next to Cape Canaveral)and your description transported me back there. I could almost smell the salt again. We used to sit on the beach and watch the launches. I also still have a vivid memory of being in Algebra class and watching the Challenger explode out the window. A very sad day.

    Comment by Shannon — July 11, 2007 @ 11:32 am

  2. “I gave a talk about detaching from outcome. As if I could.”

    Ahh–this says it all. I love the humility and truthfulness in your writing. what a gift.

    Comment by Leah — July 13, 2007 @ 4:24 am

  3. Karen,

    I continue to think of you and your family while you are away.
    Blessings on all of you. Thank-you for taking the time to share with us.


    Comment by bella — July 13, 2007 @ 1:46 pm

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