How do you tell a story?
Beyond the structure of the who, what, where, when and why.
I woke up early on this last day together with the NASA-NAAMES team wanting to soak in every last moment knowing that this story is nearing its end.
How lucky am I to have a job that lets me parachute into people’s lives. Journalists don’t stay very long, usually, we stay long enough to soak in relevant information to share. We meet people on their greatest adventures, the best day of their lives and, unfortunately, on their worst days too. The common thread in all of this is that those times often make people uniquely real, open and vulnerable to others.
So, how do I tell this story? One where I stayed a bit longer, where my “characters” are now family and I broke the number one rule of journalism-don’t become part of the story. But I am starting to believe that sometimes rules need to be broken.
Then truth is I knew before I stepped on this ship that I would never be able to tell this story, well enough, to truly bring it home-hopefully just enough.
The science, the amazing work at the hands of curious and fantastically diverse people, will take shape through words. What will not be as easy to explain—is the profound experience we shared together.
The story lives in the small gestures and larger conversations that were part of everyday life here; the smiles and laughter that became the ambient noise you looked forward to during early mornings and late nights. The gift was in the collaboration that thirty days at sea brought out in people who will use that to paint a better picture for the rest of us to understand our oceans. The bond was built in the shared struggles from walking to figuring out how to make our jobs work in constant motion. The crew who call this ship home and welcome eager strangers ,thirsty to use their resources, with open arms…that’s where it is.
The greatest author, of course, will be the sea, with her secrets and incredible world that she allowed us to safely navigate while putting on one heck of a breathtaking show.
This story lives in the shared connection of a journey that can really only be fully understood by the fifty or so people who were here living it together. Tomorrow we will part ways with the memories of what was, knowing there are a few dozen people out there that live in us--that have become a chapter in our life story. So, we take a few moments to take in, to be thankful, before we turn the page.
Thanks to the whole NAAMES team for inviting me into their world and most especially to Mike Behrenfeld for reminding me that passion fuels possibility and anything can be, the magic that can be found if we take the time to discover what we cannot easily see and that the universe is asking us all to share in each other’s journeys.