When the countdown came to the final seconds, nothing else mattered. Not to-do lists or work or where the clock hands pointed. We filed out of the office, caught up in a childlike excitement, and trek across the parking lot, eyes on the sky. Cross the street. Take to the median grass. Face east.

On a clear day, you could see clear to the coast, but even cloudy couldn’t stop us from looking for the tell-tale streak of white and orange breaking through the horizon. Look! There! A line of white smoke trailed behind, tracing the gentle curve of another shuttle breaking the laws of gravity just enough to take human life to the stars.

I miss the shuttles. I don’t think it completely hit me how much until last week when Discovery took its final voyage to a new home in D.C. My whole childhood was spent with at least an awareness of it. From my front yard, even though we were miles from the launch site, we could see it. The tradition carried into adult life whenever we dropped everything in a work day to watch the sky. Underneath science, technology, and yes, expenses, there’s a kind of magic to watching a thunderous monster of a machine punch a hole in the atmosphere, carrying a small group of brave, fragile people into a mysterious, weightless country.

It’s a wonder I’ll never outgrow.

***

I think a combination of shuttle news and rediscovering space-inspired music in my iTunes library brought on a nostalgia and borderline obsession with the outer universe last week. But keeping with the theme (and because I can’t really let a post go by without plugging something I love these days), I would like to direct you to my recurring soundtrack, Andrew Osenga’s new concept album Leonard the Lonely Astronaut. It’s epic, heartbreaking, awesome, and a little weird. It was recorded in a homemade spaceship studio last year.

You’re totally intrigued now, right?

I considered writing more about it, but yet again, my friend Jason did such an excellent job with his own review that I’d rather you just go read that. And if you’re really intrigued, then grab it while you can at The Rabbit Room Store. You got until tomorrow (Tuesday, 4/24), then it’s going on hold until a wide release in September.

Trust me. You don’t want to wait that long.

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