I was off today, but Jilda had an early-morning yoga class where she works and needed to roll out of bed at 5 a.m. in order to drink a cup of coffee and get ready to hit the road.
As the coffee dripped, I got a buzz on my phone. When I looked I saw the International Space Station would be passing overhead in three minutes.
I stepped out barefoot and walked down toward the mailbox to get a clearer view of the morning sky to the north. The sky was dark, but off to the east above the horizon, I could see tinges of magenta and a color I could not name.
A few steps further and I looked toward the northwest. A moment later, I saw the ISS gliding across the morning sky. I stood there until it passed silently below the horizon. I spent time thinking about that miracle of modern technology today.
This afternoon Jilda and I picked up our great nephew Jordan from school. Once home, I told him I'd seen the ISS and he was curious. I showed him the app on my phone which gives the time the station appears in the sky, the direction, and the angles.
We talked a bit about how often the space station circles the earth. When I told him it was traveling at a speed of 4.76 miles a second, I could see the wheels spinning as he tried to wrap his mind around that. We talked a little about the size of earth and that the space station circled earth about every 90 minutes. I answered several questions with help from the calculator on my phone. It was hard to judge what pieces he understood.
Who knows what all he will remember, but I think it's important to share things that are at the edge of his comprehension.
After sitting there a long while I imagined he was thinking about space, physics, the theory of relativity, and what not, but he broke the silence and asked me if he could play with the box behind the couch in the laundry room. I smiled more at myself than at him, and said, "Of course."