This morning I watched live footage of the miners in Chile being pulled out of the ground in a capsule after 70 days of entrapment. I heard the Chilean Spanish of my childhood, and felt very close to what I watched. I was amazed by the silence and sense of calm about the whole operation, and moved by the embraces of loved ones, men hugging men, mothers hugging sons, people wrapping arms around one another and patting, again and again… Lots of patting. Not a lot of words.

Tonight I walked home under a sky just shy of dark. It’s my favorite time, that time of in-between. You get to play I-spy on the magics. Tonight I spied a man walking down the street carrying nothing but a ukulele. He strummed his uke as if strumming a uke was the only thing in the world to do.

He reminded me of a night this August just past. I was walking home at the same magical time, though the hour was later and the air was sultry. It might have been winding down, but it was Summer still. That’s what I was thinking when I heard piano notes which I thought surely I was making up. Except that I wasn’t, because right there, on Brattle Street, sat a man playing an honest to goodness old-fashioned piano on the sidewalk.

In that moment, like this morning and tonight, I loved being human. And alive. Intimately connected with this world.

There are a number of things in my life I regret doing. One or two I regret a lot.

When I look back on Me-Then it is now with some measure of kindness. It wasn’t always like that, and the kindness surprises me. And sometimes makes me cry. Kindness tends to. Me-Now sees the young woman that was Me-Then as a girl wanting, more than anything, connection.

In some way it’s still what I want most. Connection. To you. To another. Something bigger. Something other. To nature. To myself. Even when I retreat into aloneness it’s about wanting to connect and come back. For isn’t the loneliest feeling ever to be far away and cut off from oneself?

Over the weekend, my guy and I made a little roadtrip. We drove home late on Sunday, in the dark, listening to Mecano. If you don’t know them, they are an 80’s Spanish group. I adore them. Their lyrics are stories told in poetry. I wish the whole world spoke Spanish, just so everyone could understand Mecano. Just like I wish everyone spoke English so they could delight in Leonard Cohen. But I digress.

The song Laika came on and I tried an on-the-spot translation for my guy who doesn’t speak Spanish. Laika was a Soviet space dog, the first animal to orbit the earth. She died hours after take off.

The song has been tapping me on the shoulder for three days. Tonight I stopped to write it down. Laika is not alone.

Laika is on Mecano’s album “Descanso Dominical.” Here it is, on YouTube:

Here’s my very quick translation, which is a far cry from its poetic, original Spanish. But it tells the story and loosely fits the syllabic meter of the song, in case you want to Karaoke it up.

She was Russian and her name was Laika
just a very normal dog she was
she went from being simply regular
to being an A-class superstar

They placed her into a small space rocket
to observe her signs and reactions
she turned out to be the world’s first astronaut
on a mission into outer space

Now the rocket is set and ready for take-off
and ground control on earth bids her farewell

At home base everything was stark silence
waiting for some signal to be heard
Everyone’s attention on their earphones
heard the sound of her familiar bark

Back on earth there was a grand old party
shouts and laughter, weeping and champagne
Laika surely watched it through the window
noticing the big bright colored ball
wondering how odd to be circling it

Now the rocket is set and ready for take-off
and ground control on earth bids her farewell

Then one night stargazing on the heavens
a new light is observed by telescope
no one can explain the apparition
of this new sun in the skies
But if we pay heed to the great legend
surely we must know it to be true
that while on earth there is a great dog missing
in heaven there is also one star more.

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