Don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed the break we’re taking from RadioWest. It has given us a chance to really think about the possibilities of making a new version of the show. Yet ... I’m starting to feel antsy. It’s because I’m constantly reading things or seeing things that make me think, "That would be a cool show." But we’re not doing the show right now, so we have to wait and then the moment passes.
I felt that way a few weeks ago when we were all celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I thought it would be fun to make a show about that. I wasn’t sure exactly what it would be about, but there were a few options. We could have covered the moment as a shared experience. We could have discussed the history and future of the space program, talked about the importance of discovery and how it seems to draw people together. But there was one moment that stood out for me, that I figured we could have built a show around. It was the way Neil Armstrong described what the moon looked like and felt like when he took his first steps. He described how he could see the footprints of his boots in the sandy particles. He said it was "fine and powdery." He said the moon had a "stark beauty all of its own." And then he said this, "It’s much like the high desert of the United States. It’s different, but it’s very pretty out here." Wow. Armstrong said the moon was like the deserts we know around here. They’re beautiful, but desolate at the same time. In fact, he called it "magnificent isolation."
On second thought, that’s not what I think the show would have been about. The RadioWest we could have made was about those moments when a person sees something for the very first time in history. What was it like, how did it change them and could they ever really express it or explain it adequately to someone else? It’s the dilemma the eloquent CBS commentator Eric Sevareid mentioned on television that day in 1969:
We’re always going to feel, somehow, strangers to these men… they peered into another life we can’t follow… I wonder what their life will be like now.