NASA’s Endeavor Shuttle Launch
What a Difference Morning Makes
The Sunday, February 7th Endeavor shuttle launch courted as NASA’s final evening launch was a big deal to us. The St. Petersburg Times showed a picture of the last launch as seen from the St. Pete Pier. The Pier itself is under close scrutiny to be renovated, to become more economically feasible for the City. This final evening launch to the International Space Station seemed a befitting event to enjoy there. My husband Martin and I set out to photograph and enjoy it.
Launch was to be 4:39 a.m. We arrived at 4:00 a.m. to face blustery cold temperatures for Florida. I was wearing a jacket over my sweater and jeans, scarf, socks and hat. Martin laughed at me, but it was all good. We were going to be part of history in the making in some small way. This was uncharted territory; such mavericks we were.
Surprisingly there were runners at that hour along the entrance to the Pier of both genders, as well as varying ages, sizes, and shapes. Hooray for them, I thought. There they were in their own personal glory and although I cannot run due to a serious knee injury, I still felt the pride of the moment for them.
Martin and I set up our cameras amid the winds, while waiting in the cold dampness for sight of Endeavor’s bright orange glow. Our pride was deflated nine minutes prior to takeoff when we learned the mission was scrubbed due to cloud cover. I almost cried, but perhaps that was due to lack of sleep.
We couldn’t bring ourselves to leave just yet. We chatted with security guards, a male and a female, who pointed out staying another hour or two could be worth our while to see THEIR remarkable sunrise. The guard told us, “Everyone agrees Florida sunsets are magnificent but you really need to view OUR sunrise; what we see every morning.”
Those security guards are very proud; proud of having jobs and meeting new people, proud to live in Florida, and excited with this gift their job provides. They boosted our spirits and we remained at the Pier. We only had a brief encounter of sunrise with red clouds and a sliver of orange sky in between. But it was enough.
We chose not to return for the re-scheduled Monday morning launch. What if that one was scrubbed also? No, I think we preferred to keep the current memories as our gift from that morning.
My Pre-retirement is teaching me so much more than most of my life has. To not sweat the small stuff; to enjoy each day to the fullest; and reflect upon what is, or was, rather than what should have been.