Earth to Jo-Ann…Come In Jo-Ann

It’s March 12th and we’re so excited. It’s 10:34 p.m., we’re situated along Florida’s Space Coast, (east side of the state on the Atlantic Ocean, 74 kilometres [46 miles], south of Cape Canaveral). The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is at the Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and is ready for take-off. It’s the 4th rocket launch since we arrived here on January 1st.Kennedy Space Centre

During the 10 minute countdown to lift off, my imagination kicks in and it brings me back to our home up north, t
o our bedroom, and to the large photograph hanging over the headboard. It is the now famous photo of planet Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft, at a distance of about 45,000 kilometres (28,000 mi) from earth, titled, The Blue Marble, that I purchased sometime in the 1980’s at Kennedy Space Centre.

I bought this photo then because I love our home planet. I find myself often, sitting on my bed and losing myself in the magnificent beauty of our planet. I contemplate our blue jewel suspended in the velvety blackness. I marvel at our fragile sphere.

I think back to 1992 when Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut boarded the space shuttle Discovery, and broke the mould. I recall an interview upon her return from space, she remarked that she had looked out of the window of the shuttle and was struck by all the empty space around our planet. That we’re alone in our part of the universe, she pointed out that it’s the only home we have right now, and we need to take care of it.

Earth looks peaceful and harmonious from space, but of course all is not as it appears. Conflicts threaten our very survival. Weapons are poised, ready to annihilate life as we know it at a moments notice; environmental crisis is lurking, and conflicts that are rooted in antiquity abound. Human destiny is unclear, the veneer of civilization is yet exceedingly thin, and our current actions bring sustainability into question.

Oh my, the glow of what looks like the dawn of a new day, fully illuminates the horizon to the north of us. It’s 10:44 p.m., and we have lift off. Within seconds a large fire ball climbs through the inky black sky. WOW! The rocket has a quartet payload of what is called Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (MMS) spacecraft, which is the first space mission dedicated to the study of magnetic reconnection. My own very basic understanding of magnetic reconnection is that it is a fundamental process that occurs throughout the universe where magnetic fields connect and disconnect with an explosive release of energy. Magnetic reconnection is one of the most important drivers of space weather events, such as eruptive solar flares.

It’s amazing to think the journey it took human-kind to arrive at a day where representatives of earth can leave our home planet, not knowing what they will find.

Arriving back to our Florida condo after witnessing the spectacular liftoff I am in awe as I think of humanity’s epic journey out of Africa, the cradle of humanity, to eventually populate the earth. We are a species of brave pioneers and adaptive innovators.

I’ve lived most of my life so far in the 20th century. Those of us who have lived during this time in our planetary history have witnessed the extraordinary miracles and folly of humankind first hand. Ours has been a century of demystifying, human-made miracles and human-made catastrophe.

My mother who is only 22 years older than I, lives with the effects of a world evolved from the dim years of the Great Depression to World War 11, and she witnessed the incandescent Nuclear Age.

Progress has been swift for the most part and severe. I have lived through the silent war that was never overtly fought, (Cold War). Watched as humans fought over ideology, and are engaged in an era of organized global terrorism, the likes of which has never before been experienced.

In this age of miracles such as; The Human Genome Project and gene therapy, Pandemic Planning and Coordination of Response, creation of life saving and life sustaining ostomies. The Human Brain Project, an international team of researchers led by German and Canadian scientists have produced a three-dimensional atlas of the brain that has 50 times the resolution of previous maps. Microscale 3-D Printing. And, the list goes on. In my lifetime I have seen the horse drawn ice wagon, delivering ice to my neighbours in a time when not all folks had a refrigerator. And then, just a few years ago my life was saved and extended by the technology of modern medicine, and the skills of medical practitioners.

I have lived momentous days, extraordinary in the ability of people to coordinate their minds and skills to ensure the continuation of humanity’s journey and our own individual journeys. The little blue speck in the midst of the vast emptiness that is dotted by luminous celestial bodies is our home, and this ostomate is honoured to be graced with an extended life and the opportunity to live life to the fullest on this beautiful blue marble.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

Ostomate

“Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”

GOOFY BIRD WINS THE PRIZE

We live on a beautiful planet, our home is a wondrous place filled with drama and visual splendor. An interesting subject will appear, a contrast of light and shadow will become apparent, or a drama will unfold, this is when I focus and snap. A life image and an Earth moment in time is captured, to be enjoyed and relived, over and over again.” Artist statement – Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

Percy and I get a real kick out of taking our camera just about everywhere we can, hunting for great photographic shots. Life never ceases to show up, as we delight in snapping away the day. Once again the magic of life showed up last year on Marco Island, Florida, USA. We were awaiting to board the “Marco Island Princess”, for a sunset cruise, and it was a very breezy day. Looking over my shoulder I spotted a Snowy Egret clinging to a railing, holding on for dear life. Her feathers were blowing this way and then that way. A bad feather day would be an understatement. I slowly and carefully walked up to her, camera in my hand and then snapped, we captured her moment.

So as to not stress her any more than she must have been experiencing, I took one more quick photo, and then walked away giving her as wide a berth as possible so that she could do something, anything, to stay upright on the railing and tame her ruffled feathers. Some of us know what that’s like first thing in the morning.

I am an author, a painter and I’m also a photographer. Being a member of , “Arteast”, in our city, I at times enter my art in juried art exhibitions. This year I decided to enter a photograph, and went about deciding on what photographic pic I would like to exhibit. Interestingly, I was consistently drawn to the pic I call, “Bad Feather Day”, and eventually decided on the little Snowy Egret. I did not enter her to win any awards, I entered her because she always makes me smile, chuckle and ponder. And, I am sure she will work her magic on others. Her gift is the gift of humour and steadfastness.

There is another reason why the little one speaks to me, she is a visual metaphor for all of us. Throughout our lives the winds of hardship blow from time to time, threatening to push us over and slam us to the ground. Yet, even with the odds seemingly against us, most of us hang in there, even when it’s about hanging on for dear life. All of us who have had a 2nd chance at life know this. Our feathers are ruffled so to speak as we lean in, to weather the storms. Our drive to live and get on with getting on with life is intense, even in the most challenging of times.

We don’t know if or when the winds will cease. With all the strength and will we have within, we and our support system if we are lucky enough to have one, grasp and cling onto the most solid and steady we can. Being a human is not for wimps! Hurrah to all who choose to live a joyous and the fullest of lives, in spite of it all.

Our little goofy bird’s efforts were not in vain, as not only was she accepted for exhibition for the 2013 AJAE (Arteast Juried Art Exhibition), she has been awarded first place in the photography category. From September 29th through November 22nd, 2013, she will give a multitude of people a smile, a chuckle, and maybe just maybe, some inspiration to ponder. Percy and I were delighted to receive our award at the Awards Ceremony. No matter our life situations, we all have hopes and dreams, at times during a lifetime harsh winds blow, like the seemingly delicate Snowy Egret, we’re amazingly strong even on our worst bad feather day.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

 

Ostomate

 

Everyone you meet has a story to tell.DSCN0880 - Version 3-WM