This is a photo of my partner, Deb, as a 3-year old, taken on July 20, 1969 by her dad, Don Baida, as she is watching the moon landing with her mom. This is the first time it’s been published — this week it made it onto the commemorative moon landing pages of NASA and the New York Times science page and Tierneylab blog. The best things in life take time, and this wonderful shot has been fermenting for 40 years.
Don Baida writes of his photo:
As a photographer, I knew that this was a once in a lifetime shot that I didn’t want to miss. This was such a unique happening – the first time someone stepped onto another world – that I wanted to make sure my family was part of it. My wife Harriot, left, and I woke our oldest daughter, Debra, right, then age 3, to watch history unfold.
I love looking at the old black and white print sitting on our mantle in the living room, one of my all time favorite pics. Unfortunately, the negatives were stolen, but the photo has been very well taken care of by Deb who inherited her father’s photo genes.
While I don’t remember the event personally (I was two), the picture transports me back in time, evoking a magical mix of emotions, marrying simple human joys like childhood and family with our curiosity for what else is out there, and ultimately, a deep longing to understand why we’re here.
Or maybe it’s timelessness it transports me to, as the suspension of gravity beckons a suspension of belief, the fixed mind with its learned assumptions and unyielding desire for explanation ceding control to the vast and mysterious ocean of the heart.
There they are, mother and daughter, looking at the possibly impossible becoming impossibly possible, a generation apart and yet so close. If we are the moon and the moon is us, then what else may we become, or perhaps, already be…?
On the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing I can’t think of a better image to relieve me of the challenge to describe belonging, hope, and awe, all rolled into one.