There's this beautiful excitement that bottles itself up in my heart, then turns to baking soda and vinegar and just needs to come out in the form of a laugh or a scream or a really loud song, or I'll just burst.

That's kind of how I feel when I watch a space shuttle take off, rocketing towards the sweet blue skies, busting through heaven and breathing against the face of the pretty blue planet we live on, reaching out to touch the black vacuum of space.


And there's this particular spaceship that is pretty darn cool--Discovery.

She is the first shuttle to dock with the ISS (International Space Station), the shuttle that took Hubble telescope into space, the shuttle that has journeyed to outer space more than any other orbiter (hence her beaten-up appearance), the first shuttle to retire from the manned spaceflight program, and the shuttle I saw.
In person.

At her birthplace in Cape Canaveral, somewhere on the east coast of the Sunshine State, I stood awestruck on a saltwater-washed fishing pier, staring up at the being who has soared way beyond the unaccomplished dreams in my head.

That beautiful explorer.

One of the best moments of my life--seriously. 
I know, I'm a total NASA nerd. :)

It's dawn of April 17th, and I'm up before the sun--a rarity, so I can't brag; she's always so punctual, and I, sleepy and indolent at these sinfully early morning hours.

My little Kodak Edwin is slung around my neck and my blue eyes are totally lost in the shy periwinkle ceiling, beginning to blush a soft pink from the barely-glowing horizon.
The dark, rolling swells of seawater are splashing against the rigid boulders planted under the beams of the pier, and spitting up a mist to spray in the early birdie's faces, and ebbing back in swirling pools of white foam.

I become totally lost in the escape-less viewfinder of my camera; Edwin and I spend the next few minutes shooting gulls and clouds and beds of rocks until my momma calls to me and points out the 747.

And I wanna scream.
But I don't.

I hold the hysteria inside my mouth and grab Edwin, yanking on the power button.

The airplane is a beautiful but beastly machine in and of herself; with a deafeningly loud engine that pulses inside my chest when she surfs the smudgy gray clouds overhead.
And best of all?

She's giving Discovery a piggy-back ride.

So I smile.

And start snapping pictures like there's not gonna be any tomorrow.

And just as they're drawing so close I can almost feel the breath of the 747's engines on my pale skin--

Edwin runs out of juice.


All that flashes before my desperate eyes is a quick indication of every unprepared photographer's nightmares: BATTERY DEPLETED.

All gone.

So I look back up just as she soars over our heads, roaring with the fire of a gazillion suns and screaming hello to the peeps down here.

I almost cry.
But I don't, really.

I just stand here and gape at her like the dumbfounded, utterly breathless kid that I am.

Because the flyer we picked up somewhere said something about "Flyovers" (plural.) I'm guessing that the 747 will now take the shuttle for another spin around the sky closer inland.

But no.

She turns.

And flies straight towards us.

Right over the ocean.

And that's when a bystander drops her cell phone--and it smashes open on the pier. (but she grabs the pieces and clicks it back together.)

And that's also when dawn breaks--the sun rays splatter all over the place, like a pottery-making lesson gone wrong, staining the clouds pink and orange and the brightest yellow you ever beheld.

And my awesome sister lends me her camera. :D

At this point I pause my violent picture-snapping, and lift my wonder-struck eyes to the heavens.

And I see this:

The belly of the 747, her steely, powerful wings spread wide and absorbing the sweet saltwater wind, taking Discovery to her new home.

Goodbye, Discovery.
You're a beautiful explorer.

Mel (the nerdy kid)


    It was soooo amazing to watch, wasn't it?!
    Lovelovelove you sis!

    1. It was super amazing. LOVE YOU KATO. :D

  2. Replies
    1. DUDE. I so wanted to scream out loud when I saw it. xD But everyone probably would've thought that I'm terrified of airplanes, or something. FOFL.

  3. OH MY WORD. That is amazing! My mouth seriously dropped open. Sososo cool that you got to see that :D

    1. I know right? It was so darn amazing. :D & thank you for your sweet comment! :)

  4. Dear Mel,

    Can I just say THANK YOU for commenting on my blog?!!! Not just because I'm one of those lame people who just go over and thank people, but never say anything about what they actually posted, but because you introduced me to your WONDERFUL, freaking blog!!! Pardon the freaking. I'm just so happy.

    Your writing is so lovely.... Amazing. I'm still googging out. Anyways, about the post... I'm not a NASA nerd, unfortunately, but I do have this fascination with flying things. And that has got to be one of the coolest things I have seen. It's so beautiful. And you writing is wonderful (have I already said that?).

    Anyways, I'm gonna not bother you anymore, but I will just say, "I'll be back...." (not in the creepy terminator way(I haven't watched terminator before) but in the cool way). ;)


    1. Thank you SO MUCH, Rebekah! You seriously don't know how much that means so me. <3
      DUDE, ditto. I adore your blogs and your writing (though I don't think I've commented on My Blue Castle before!? GAAH, I love it. :D)
      It was a wonderful moment, seeing the Discovery. <3 I'll never forget it. :)
      Again, thank you a billion for your sweet comment, and for following!! :D

  5. wow!! this post is just soso cool!! beautiful photos!!


    1. Hey, Carli! Thank you so much! It was a brilliant moment. <3


kind words are like raindrops on the desert. they make me bloom with happiness, as absolutely cliche and cheesy as that sounds. even if it's just a simple alt+3 i will heart you for it. so, go ahead! MAKE MY DAY. literally.