To boldly go

The Milky Way comes to the ball in a lavender dress. It dances all night long. You can see the show for free if your tickets are up high.

Ours were at 8,500 feet.

The first shot came from little Sparrow, who just celebrated her second day in kindergarten. It’s the cover photo for this post, and it’s not half bad. Sparrow loved the camera, and as the four of us—mama and papa included—set up a massive, 100-pound telescope nearby, she kept shooting the stars.

The family obsession with space seems to be genetic.

But this isn’t a story about space. It’s a story about exploration. That’s the reason you purchase a giant telescope—to search for new places, new planets, new meanings to old riddles. The great search for truth…that’s what space represents.

People often ask me why I’m doing this. The long answer is because I’m waiting on my apartment to be renovated. The short answer is because I’m looking for something. When I left, I had no idea what that something was. I still don’t know completely. But under a shimmering night sky in Colorado, I began to understand another small piece of the puzzle.

The truth. Can you find it if you look hard enough?

Apparently, my uncle was looking for it with giant, computer-assisted telescopes and binoculars strong enough to give Mr. Magoo night vision. We’re not sure what he was looking for: maybe the Apollo landing sites on the moon, maybe the proof that his father really did help send man to its surface, or maybe he was trying to find God. Either way, the stargazing equipment eventually made its way to Colorado, to Sparrow and her two big people.

We connected the dots and did our best to assemble the giant telescope in the dark, mostly to no avail. Turns out, it didn’t really matter that the ‘scope didn’t work. When Sparrow clicked the shutter, I got the message: it’s about the journey.

The Milky Way dances over Durango

Some people spend their days, weeks, and lives looking for the truth. They seek answers to great questions and riddles that need to be solved. These are important and worthy goals. Landing on the moon, curing cancer, creating renewable energy…none of these could be or have been attained without that search. But fulfillment also comes from the journey, from “boldly going where no man has gone before.”

So it is that my journey continues. The developers in Memphis have informed me that they’re about a month behind schedule. That means stretching the trip out by another several weeks. And, really, I’m okay with that.

Yes, there are cold nights in the back of a car. There are flat tires and broken phones and expensive, dying laptops. There are breathless climbs and bleary eyes bruised, battered bones. But the trials are worth it. They’re worth it for the search, and they’re worth it for the journey.

So what have I learned? The truth isn’t one great discovery. You can’t find it through any single lens. The truth is a series of tiny lessons that form a bigger picture over time.

The truth is a lot like the stars. It’s a message so simple that adults often forget it—so simple that kindergartner could teach it.

Editor’s notes: The journey from Durango goes north to Grand Junction, Colorado(where I’m currently typing this), and back west towards Utah’s Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Keep your eye out for upcoming posts from the desert, and one or two before I reach their sandy floors.

I continue to thank those who “like” the blog posts or follow the journey on Snapchat and Instagram (@joesills). It also goes without saying that the super fans who continue to chip in to the gas fund are my heroes. You guys are awesome, and you give me the ability to keep exploring—and, yes, boldly going. May you all live long and prosper.

Special shoutout to the homie Matt for kicking in from seas unknown on deployment. Fair winds and following seas my friend. There are many fish to be caught when you get back. #fishnavy

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