The memories have been embellished, of course, as all memories have been; but still, I smile when I remember those nights. The reminders that we live, as Carl Sagan put it, on "a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena," have stuck with me and help me to cherish our existence here while keeping me from giving it galactic import. Every chance I get, I look up and marvel at how much we've explored and how startlingly much we still have left to explore.
Last week, my attention turned to the International Space Station. I had watched Gravity on its opening weekend with my dad and sister, so the orbiting global cooperative was already on my mind. My dad had found its path over our speck of Earth on a NASA website (still functioning on what was day two of the partial shutdown). I set my camera on top of my car, steadied it with my rigid camera bag, and took the six 30-second exposures you see below (presented as both a flattened .jpg file and as an animated GIF).
Keep looking up.