Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hiking with Ray: Tuesday Morning

After a lecture recently, a young man stepped up, holding his baby in his arms. “Mr Bradbury,” he said, “shall I tell you the dream I have for my grandchildren and you?”

“Tell.” I said.

“I’m in training to become an astronaut with Mars as prime destination,” he said. “Many years from now, when we have our first colony on Mars and I am there with my family in the middle of the night, one night, with Mars a desolation and dead, I’ll wake because of a sound and go into my ten-year-old grandson’s area of our smallish hut and bend down over the heaped sheets and blankets and quietly pull them aside. Underneath, what do you think I hope to find? My grandson, with a flashlight, reading a book late at night, against orders. Startled, he looks up at me. What are you reading? I say. The Martian Chronicles, he says. He turns the flashlight off. Turn it back on, I say. Okay? He says. Okay, I say. He turns the flashlight back on. Slowly I pull the sheet back up over him. I can see the light dimly under the covers. June 2033, I hear him whisper. I turn and walk away, blinded by tears. Is that okay, Mr. Bradbury?”

I cannot speak. I grab and hold the young astronaut, tears in my eyes.

At last I say, Okay.

And suddenly I am an ancient Greek myth reborn to live among disbelievers, summoned by one who believed.

Okay, I say again, and look up in my mind to again see dead Mars but hear the live whispering of that splendid child.

1 comment:

cyn said...

What a place to hike with Ray.