That is my planet.
I gaze lovingly at the surface with its boundless and beautiful colours. How many times have I explored its borders as the dawn immortalises its curves, glowing in an indescribable light-blue that is perfectly outlined by the light of iridescent mesospheric clouds: the colour of infinite patience.
Shrouded in silence I look out: I feel our planet’s heart beat as I watch the vital water run along infinite veins across the land, nourished and protected by the clouds that cover Earth’s surface like the cloak of a vestal virgin. Its breathing is calm and eternal like the tides but large as ocean waves. It holds the power of winds that sweep sand from a hundred deserts to the tops of a thousand mountains in one breath.
In a few hours, all this will be a memory. My spaceship is quiet and dark in waiting, but soon it will turn into a dramatic theatre when we return to Earth. Everything that has a beginning must come to an end: this fragility makes each experience unique and even more valuable.
I try to fill my eyes, my mind and my heart with the colours, nuances and sensations so that my memories will be witness to the experience. Underneath me on Earth, lands merge: country boundaries are non-existent when you look down from up here in the Cupola. I observe the lands of men.
I always feel the irresistible attraction of the sky and stars when I look up on Earth. I encourage my mind to lose itself in the infinite and the unknown. It is in our nature, our Ulysses gene. Nonetheless, Ulysses returns to Ithaca after many travels: his island always in his dreams. If I had been born in the interstellar darkness, if I had spent my entire life traveling far from our world, I would look back at our bright-blue waters and diverse continents with the same admiration. Every sunrise and every sunset would instil the same sense of awe. I would dream of sinking my feet in the warm sands, to feel the cold embrace of snow and the caress of the salty sea-breeze that blows towards land. I would wonder how it feels to bathe in its waters, to bask in the warmth of the Sun.
But I am lucky: I was born there.
That is my planet. That is my home.
— Astronaut Luca Parmitano