The Hearth and the Salamander

sept29th

I grew up with NASA in my backyard. I was almost 6 when Neil Armstrong made humanity’s giant leap. I remember feeling the ground move the night my Dad & I stayed up to watch Apollo 17 liftoff. We watched the night sky light up all the way to Hernando Beach. Around that time is when my father introduced me to Ray Bradbury, his short stories were perfect for my eager young mind. Fahrenheit 451 was my triumph, my first grown-up novel. Two times I read it before returning it to the library. I can think of no better story to keep alive for future generations.

farenheit451movie“It was a pleasure to burn”, beings a story about a fireman in our near future whose sworn duty it is to take books and “…burn ‘em to ashes, then burn the ashes.” One of many dystopian novels written in the mid-twentieth century, the story’s main themes are just as poignant today – No authority should be absolute and one person can make a difference. I’m sure my inquisitive nature and unwillingness to follow the crowd comes from this book. To let this tale succumb to flames and vanish would be a travesty.

No man’s ideas should be stifled. All notions should be explored, so I explored Guy Montag’s world again. Bradbury’s words deserves to stand as long as humans exist. These words must not die… “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.”

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