Kissing the Earth

Half Earth on the lunar horizon from orbit

Painting Completed 1994
20 1/2 x 33 3/4 inches, Acrylic on Masonite

I was rapidly but careful going over my descent and landing checklist. As I glanced to my left I could see, barely an arm's length away, Pete Conrad, my friend since our Navy test pilot days and now commander of Apollo 12. He looked calm and cool, all buttoned up in his white spacesuit. He was the best. I was proud to be on the crew with him and Dick Gordon, too, now alone in the command module since we uncooked less than two hours earlier.

We were the second crew to attempt a landing on the Moon. A lot had to go right for us to come home again. I was excited. This is what we had been dreaming of and training for, and we were ready.

As I looked out my small triangular shaped forward window, I could see the sharply curved horizon. We indeed were orbiting a body much smaller than the Earth. As I looked, the Earth, some 239,000 miles away now, appeared to rapidly rise.

Australia was just coming into view. It was breathtaking.

After returning to Earth, I had to paint my experience. But what would be a suitable title? I thought of a favorite painting by Winslow Homer, an American artist of the late 1800's depicting 3 fishermen in a small boat. In the distance was a faint full Moon just being touched by the Earth's horizon. Homer's title: "Kissing the Moon."

Seeing our shiny blue and white planet rise above the Moon is a wonderful memory I think of often now. But then, in November of 1969, I wondered if I would ever see our beautiful planet Earth again.

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