Dear World,

Nothing prepared me to cope with what we’re all experiencing more than the extreme isolation of space.


I talked my way into a research mission living in a simulated Moonbase.

I gazed at the vastness of “space,” an active volcano, our actual substitute. Perched on a hill of igneous crackling under my weight, some wonder was lost on the unknown. They chose the area because nothing could survive up here, not even weeds. Then, we discovered an antlered skull. Life was once here, and it died alone. Never thriving, now our shared lonely existence.

The image stuck. How did this creature roam and graze these pockmarked fields? Could it ever relax in the powerful silence of space? Or did it always have to keep searching, with no predators, and no friends, to our knowledge. I asked these questions and I did not wonder. I’d sooner seek the comfort of familiar, for once. I missed wind on my skin, humidity, the color green. 

Back on Earth, I now hold flashes of joy for the smallest things. The sound of spokes on a passing bicycle. Smells, even the bad ones. We can take this moment to appreciate what we have, or keep looking up, always seeking.

I haven’t settled. This historic overcorrection allows us to cherish what we have, exploring the bounds of comfort and discomfort. A moment to accept inevitable pangs of despair, bodyshots of pain, naturally longing for the eases and freedoms before quarantine. Smile when it means something, and take pause to find small pleasures in even the hardest times.

Take me home, cosmic roads. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.


Let Joy Endure

Support this photographer: Josh Burnstein  ︎  @jburstofa    



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