William D. Waltz

from Consider the Dark Window

The wonderfully loony B-52s once famously observed in song, "There's a moon in the sky. It's called the Moon." I have never been there. However, I have been to Astro Lanes, Galaxy Furniture, and the Armstrong Air and Space Museum, all of which can be found in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Mr. Armstrong's hometown, and mine. If you have cruised along Interstate 75, between Cincinnati and Toledo, between the farms, the fields, the scattered woods, and the quiet, desperate towns, the odds are you spotted the museum, for the dome of its planetarium emerges from the earth like a great white mushroom. If your road-trip had you strung out on caffeine and talk radio nonsense, you may have mistaken it for the full moon itself, disaster-movie close. In 1969, Apollo 11 carried three astronauts to the edge of the human range and allowed two of them, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, to become the first Earthlings to lay tracks upon the lunar plain. It took humanity a couple of hundred-thousand years to reach the Moon, to caress it with our opposable thumbs, yet the Moon took hold of us from the very beginning, that very first night, and has never loosened its grip.