The Search for Life in Distant Galaxies

He looked up from his desk at a drawing that he’d copied of Hubble’s Deep Field and then turned in his chair to face the interior of the room.

The walls were covered with hundreds of drawings on odd scraps and bits of discarded paper. They formed his private array of dazzling star systems both real and imaginary that had grown dense over the years.

He began unfastening images from a section of drawings that he had hung by the single window of his room that opened to the fire escape and lead to the roof of his apartment building.

Although faded by the sun, he left these particular drawings there because he liked to look at them at night, in the starlight—when they seemed to come to life. He began lovingly inserting them into a portfolio that he had labeled, The Future. They were drawings of an imaginary world that he had created in his hippie days. Some of them were drawn at Doyle’s, some of them in Golden Gate Park and Land’s End; he didn’t remember exactly. They were part 2001-A Space Odyssey, part Yellow Submarine and other utopian fantasies from the late 60s. They pictured a multi-dimensional world inhabited by magical fairies and creatures that battled with the forces of light and darkness. These drawings were from an earlier time in his life; a time before he began his more serious work; a place where he believed everything was possible.

The Future would go in the 1968 box with other research materials and ephemera that he was gathering from his archive—parts of an imperfect past that needed sorting out.

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