Stone Soup

NASA Apollo launchHave you ever heard the story of Stone Soup? It’s one of those timeless stories that talks about how, by itself, a community can only get so far; the ingredients seem bland and lacking. But together, with everyone pitching just a few little scraps into the boiling water, we can stir together something wonderful, a tasty Stone Soup.

A community realizes it really is rich when it works together. We can overcome any obstacle, we can reach great heights–if someone just dreams it. As Orion rolls out onto the launch pad at the Cape, again we are at a crossroads.

Brevard County, with a history steeped in NASA’s pioneering spirit, epitomizes the tale of Stone Soup. The Space Coast is a gem in Florida’s, America’s and even the world’s crown when we speak of human endeavor. What else even comes close? It’s like no where else in the world.

NASA Apollo launch from Brevard's Cape KennedyIn all of humanity’s plight, the effort that took America to the moon stands as a beacon of hope, shouting out that dreams can be attained. As Voyager sailed past our solar system, humankind reached beyond itself in a shining moment. As we explore Mars and discern planets orbiting distant stars, we dare to live out our dreams. Only in America is hope so rampant. And only in Brevard do we have this fleeting window of opportunity to fix things before they spread out of control.

So it is with the stuff of dreams when we work together toward a common goal. We put aside the things that separate us and we reach, together, toward the infinite. When we lift up those around us, when we all share in a common vision, we truly rise above who we think we are and become the stuff of legend–the stuff of global renown. Almost every soul on this earth knows about the Space Coast, the place where rockets launch and shuttles soar.

Before the space program came to Brevard, the county slowly moved forward out of an agricultural-based reality into the modern age. With Redstone and Mercury came a growth unprecedented in our history and again we are on the dawn of a new age of prosperity–if we can just decide to reach for it.

It’s amazing that we’ve lasted this long, and avoided the metro-crawl of Miami or Jacksonville. Orlando spreads eastward, and still we haven’t quite succumbed to this wildfire growth…until this past year. My friends, it has begun. And what will Brevard look like when the growth storm is finished churning up the landscape? It keeps me up at night. Is Brevard, our home, just a temporary reprieve from suburban blight, or can we avoid it and continue to keep Brevard the rare, precious jewel that she is?

And what will a rapidly-developed Brevard look like, or rather what should it look like?

I have a dream for this new century. A dream where American know-how, entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude rises up and turns Brevard into a model, a shining example of how to grow. Can we clean up our waters, our air and set aside land as a preserve? You voted in 2014 and 2004 and said yes, we will. Can we champion technology, and chart a better course? In a land bathed in so much sunlight, can we use our technology to harness the sun and reduce our energy needs? Can we better manage water use and ensure supply for the future, or will we continue to waste until we reach crisis? All of these questions and more will soon be answered; either by us, or for us.

Launch view from just south of Kennedy Space Center, beach sideIf we over-develop our county and ignore resources and consumption, then these questions will be answered. But if we think about it now, we can chart a course and plan for future prosperity. Can we exceed our past and build on our technology-rich history? Can we pioneer the future and set an example for our state and nation, or will it be dictated to us by harsh reality?

And finally, this is where the soup story comes back in. If we all care enough, we can shape our course. If we all bring a scrap to that brewing soup, we can make it a better future.

For my part… here’s a stone. We’ve brought the water up to a simmer. It’s starting to smell pretty good, but I’ve bet you’ve got something in the pantry that would make it just a little bit better. Go ahead. Toss it in.

The power to dream is a mighty thing. Get involved. Volunteer. Care enough to make a difference.


For great photos, visit NASA Commons on flickr.