Foto de DR
That the picture in The Times is a blur is itself an accuracy. Where this has happened is so remote that clarity would misrepresent not only distance but our feeling about distance: just as the first listeners at the telephone were somehow reassured to hear static that interfered with hearing (funny word, static, that conveys the atom's restlessness), we're not even now--at the far end of the century--entirely ready to look to satellites for mere resolution. When the Mir invited the first American astronaut to swim in the pool of knowledge with the Russians, he floated exactly as he would have in space stations of our own: no lane to stay in, no line to determine the deep end, Norman Thagard hovered on the ceiling something like an angel in a painting (but done without the hard outlines of Botticelli; more like a seraph's sonogram), and turned to Yelena Kondakova as his cheek received her kiss. And in this too the blur made sense: a kiss so grave but gravity-free, untouched by Eros but nevertheless out of the usual orbit, must make a heart shift focus. The very grounding in culture (they gave him bread and salt, as Grandmother would a guest at her dacha; and hung the Stars and Stripes in a stiff crumple because it would not fall), the very Russianness of the bear hugs was dizzily universal: for who knows how to signal anything new without a ritual? Not the kitchen-table reader (child of the Cold War, of 3x5 cards, carbon copies, and the manila folder), who takes a pair of scissors--as we do when the size of some idea surprises--and clips this one into a rectangle much like her piece of toast. There: it's saved, to think of later. Yet it would be unfair to leave her looking smug; barely a teenager when she watched, on her snowy TV screen, a man seeming to walk on the moon, she's learned that some detail-- Virtual Reality or e-mail, something inexplicable and unnatural--is always cropping up for incorporation in what's human. What ought to make it manageable, and doesn't quite, is the thought of humans devising it. She'll remember Norman Thagard in June, when the Mir (meaning Peace: but how imagine this without agitation?) docks with the Atlantis (meaning the island Plato mentioned first and which, like him, did not disappear without a splash), to shuttle the traveler back home--or to whatever Earth has become.
Mary Jo Salter