Beacons and Space

From my notes on February 28, 2008: I am hitting the road, gently I hope, since I will want to use it again.  I leave behind this work of art.  I call it “The Light at the End of the Tunnel”.  It is not an issue of importance that it is neither a light nor located at the end of the tunnel.  It is in fact, the base of an antenna pole which is at the apex of our house in Hillsboro.  One of my jobs over the last few days was taking down this antenna - which had bent and was in the trees.  It required a lot of roof work to get to the end of the guy wires and cut them -- all nine of them -- and the antenna had to be cut into three six foot sections and the mast separated.  With the deed done, and not wanting to remove the base until we have roof work done, I looked down from above and observed that I had made a great rain gauge, the center of the mast being hollow.  Sitting water on the roof was not a good idea, I thought, so I found an insulator (my range of tools and supplies being very limited) and mounted it on the mast.

As I hit the road, I leave this beacon to call me home.

From my notes a few days before, on February 24: I drove east to Hillsboro, New Mexico -- stopping at Deming to lay in supplies.  The funk returned when I heard about a neolithic idiot in Texas who shot and killed two people who were attempting to burglarize his neighbor’s house.  Explaining that he had a “right to” -- it did not matter that they were unarmed and posed no threat to his or anyone else’s safety.

And lastly from March 7, 2008: Yesterday, William F. Buckley died.  Although I seldom agreed with the positions he took, he was a person of intellect and I always enjoyed listening to (or reading) the rationale(s) he advanced in support of his positions.  No lame platitudes from this great gentleman and no arguments at the fifth grade level - his thoughts were always to be taken seriously (and with a vocabulary which far exceeds mine - deciphered).

On April 23, 2008 I wrote: Yesterday the citizens of Sierra County, New Mexico (USA) -- my upcoming home -- voted for a tax increase to support Spaceport America, the first commercial space port in the United States.  I sincerely hope that Branson and the other Spaceport America developers do not leave the people here high and dry like so many professional sport teams do - they get big tax breaks or direct subsidies for new stadiums and then leave town.  I have always thought that the people in Seattle and Portland should know better but instead they went along with stadium mania and now the populace of Seattle is getting burned.  Sierra County is a poor county by American standards and I would hate to see them taken advantage of in the same manner.

What really intrigued me about the vote, however, is the juxtaposition of cattle ranches and commercial space travel.  How sublime this could be if the Spaceport America is successful, but does not lead to unrestrained development (pretty much the opposite hope of the people who voted for the tax). Space Ship One at the Boeing Museum in Seattle, above.

 


© Robert Barnes 2017