“The world is incredibly beautiful. Perhaps I had forgotten it, but I saw it from afar, and now I have proof. "With these two sentences, astronaut Luca Parmitano's letter dedicated to his daughters, Maia and Sara, begins.
The astronaut and military from Catania, who landed just over two months on Earth after spending six months in space for the ESA 'Volare' mission, published the letter four days ago on his blog. (Also read How to be a good dad). The letter had been published earlier this month in the weekly 'L'Espresso'.
"When a prestigious Del Paesena magazine asked me to write a letter to my daughters, to be published with the first issue of the year, and talk to them about the future, I was not very sure what the content would be", writes Parmitano in the its web page. How to write them something non-trivial, but also understandable both now and in 15, 20 years? Writing from the heart ... "After two weeks" the astronaut continues "- in which I was often contacted to find out if I was still willing to collaborate - I realized that I was trying to use my brain too much, and therefore I was looking for, how it often happens, in the wrong place. Two days before the deadline I sat at the desk of the hotel that was hosting me, on a cold but clear autumn night, I stopped thinking and started writing. "
The letter from astronaut Luca Parmitano from his blog ESA.
To Sara and Maia
“The world is incredibly beautiful. Maybe I had forgotten it, but I saw it from afar, and now I have proof. But even up close it can be wonderful, if looked at with the right eyes: eyes like yours, which observe with the gift of curiosity, illuminated by the light of wonder. Eyes that still believe in enchantment, and not ashamed - that understand without need of explanation.
It is the only world we have, and it contains something extremely precious: the future. Each future is as big as the whole world. The future, like the world, does not belong to you, but is in your hands. It is unique, but it is never the same. It seems infinite, but it is only infinitely fragile.
I wish I could show you the way to your future, but this is not a father's job. Instead, what I would like to give you is the map that contains all the roads, so that you can choose the route.
You are still small to understand it, but you children are much richer than us adults. You have at your disposal a capital that even the richest of men envies you: time. You have recently started attending school, and without knowing it you have started investing this treasure of yours, to make it grow, transforming it into knowledge, experience, memories. This is the only baggage that you can take with you, while you will travel following that map that I would like to be able to give you.
Soon you will encounter the first problems, the first challenges: at every crossroads in that map, you will have to count on what you have brought with you to choose a path. Initially there will be no difference: many roads will lead you to the same destination, and only the landscape will change, or perhaps the distance.
But, sooner or later, the path you choose will diverge from the previous one irreversibly, and there will not be many opportunities to go back. I have learned this: you will have enough time to choose your path. Sometimes, you will find that the path did not exist until you take the first step. It does not matter. The only thing that matters is to love to walk. Choose what you love, love what you have chosen!
And if the crossroads are difficult - when the obstacles seem insurmountable, when the light does not come to illuminate your path - know that sometimes it is necessary to get lost in the dark in order to find yourself. Embrace the difficulties: they will embellish the path. Look for the challenges: they will make the step safer.
Finally: you will have travel companions, who at times will follow the same path, others will move away from it and then return to it or disappear forever. You will love their company, and you will miss them when they leave. And if they take part of your luggage with them, check carefully: you will realize that not only you will not miss anything, but you will have enriched yourself. "
(In the photo, Luca Parmitano and family in Moscow. Credit: NASA)
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