Drawn by magic names that echoed pirate fantasies of childhood: Desolation Sound, Cormorant Island, Beaver Cove – ( I wanted to be a pirate or an astronaut), I rode the ferry to Malcolm Island to visit friends met in the city.
Rickety, rackety cabin in the woods with a beat-up old TV next to the wood stove. A week of chopping wood, feeding hens and clearing brush, then, on July 20th, my friend shouts, “Hey, come see. The yanks are landing on the moon”!
Covered in pine sap, soil and sweat I ran to the cabin. There – a cold beer in my hand, I stood in a slow motion dream as the rolling black and white images animated the dirty screen.
The TV was cutting in and out. The drone of flies and the distant sound of a chainsaw filled the static air as I watched men walk on the moon, and heard voices crackling across the abyss between nature and science, between the amber goddess of the night and this cedar scented island.
Images of “a giant leap for mankind” flickered before me like an early film by Lumiere, and, like time warped kangaroos, these ‘pirate astronauts,’ (merged heroes of my youth), hopped the dusty distance of history, and stole, from the dreaming eyes of the watching world, the ancient lunar mystery of poets and lovers.
Transfixed and torn between the wonder and the surreal incongruity of the moment I also slow danced through the cabin’s dust, laughing, followed by flies and the fluttering sounds of space.
I have never forgotten this moment of transformation and I couldn’t take my eyes off the moon that night knowing it would never look the same again.
I still cannot see the moon with a poet’s eyes, but on July 20th 1969, in a rickety cabin lit by grainy pictures on a fading TV, with Neil Armstrong and me in our sensible boots dancing the moon walk for the first time ever, I believed that anything was possible.
Words by clinock – photo from Google Images.