I remember looking at the stars.

In the front yard, on blankets, my sister and I identifying constellations.

With my friend Brian, daydreaming, sure we’d be there someday.

On my own, in the back yard, longing so deep my body shook.

I wanted to will myself to Mars like John Carter. I wanted to meet someone who wasn’t human, or see a landscape that wasn’t Earth. I wanted to fly amongst those pinpoints of fire.

I still do. In my forties now, I find it very hard to accept that I may not live to travel to space. It seemed so inevitable when I was 17. Not because I was going to be an astronaut–I’d never make it in the military–but because space travel was going to be more common. Why aren’t people living on the moon by now? Why do we not hail Kim Stanley Robinson as prescient, in light of our terraforming efforts on Mars? Where have we been?

Well, I suppose we’ve been the same place I’ve been. Working on this world, which is very large, and has many problems. There are crazy people in charge everywhere who make those problems worse. There are crazy people not in charge–thrashing and breeding and hurting each other. Sometimes I understand it so little I wonder if I’m human myself. Sometimes I wish I weren’t. I fantasize about fixing the world, so the world can pursue its dreams. But really, I fantasize about fixing the world so it can pursue my dreams.

My dreams are good! C’mon, world. C’mon.

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