Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Rainforest Burning; 1987

Over the weekend my grandmother provided me with an issue of Omni Magazine dated October 1987. From what I remember, Omni was a magazine filled with futuristic journalism, fiction, artistry, and whatever else was perceived as "cutting edge". They seemed to get enough support from alcohol and tobacco ads. My father or one of my uncles was a subscriber. I remember looking through its pages as a youngster, as much for the suggestive sci-fi and fantasy imagery as for anything else.

I just finished reading an article, an excerpt from "An Astronaut's Diary" by Jeffrey A. Hoffman published in 1986. He was in orbit on the Space Shuttle Discovery, watching a sunrise and sunset every few hours as they hurtled through the void. I was struck by the author's ability to convey his sense of wonder at the Earth as it passed beneath him. I was also startled to read the final paragraph of the excerpt shown here:

"After a while we came over the coast of South America. I saw the Andes from space, probably for the last time on this trip. It was late in the afternoon in the Andes, and the shadows were in beautiful relief. The eastern side of the mountains was going through the terminator [the shadow line on Earth made by the oncoming night]. You could see the smoke from the fires where the trees are being burned away. Then the earth went dark. I pulled myself out of my trance, flipped over, and watched the day turn into night."

I wonder what the rainforest canopy looked like in 1987.

If you are interested, check out additional articles from Omni Magazine here

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