Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Loosing the Bonds of Earth

Several weeks ago, British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking experienced a long sought-after freedom. Freedom from the wheelchair that has bound him for so many years. Freedom from the complete inability to move. Floating, free.

Mr. Hawking had long waited for the chance to float free with
Zero G -a commercial weightless flight company. The cost of a normal flight is $3,500, but this flight actually raised $144,000 for charity.

Mr. Hawking, who is arguably one of the greatest scientific minds of the century, is constricted by
ALS to a wheelchair, and is unable to communicate without the use of a computer.

After the flight, Mr. Hawking said, through his computer translator, "The zero G part was wonderful, and the high-G part was no problem. I could have gone on and on. Space, here I come!"

I am not sure why this event seems so wonderful and poetic to me. I feel joy and frustration mixed together. Joy of watching a man, so long confined, finally able, if only for a moment, to loose the binds of earth and float free, unfettered. Frustration, in knowing that it will only last for a moment, and soon, Mr. Hawking must return to his still life in a wheelchair. And, I remember my friend Frank.

Why is life like this for this great man? Why is this man, with this amazing mind that has studied and helped to define the cosmos, so held back, so restricted here on earth? I have no idea.

But watching him loose the bonds of gravity is wonderful.
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