Down-to-Earth in Brave New World

Our sons tried on 3-D glasses with the Descalzo family to watch the IMAX film, "A Beautiful Planet," at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on Sept. 25, 2016.

Our sons tried on 3-D glasses with the Descalzo family to watch the IMAX film, “A Beautiful Planet,” at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on Sept. 25, 2016.

FOR ALL THE VISUAL FASCINATION 3-D glasses bring to any IMAX show, the “Let ‘Em In” snippet from the 1976 Wings’ hit in “A Beautiful Planet” rings in my ears as we face this brave new world of underdog U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

Sure, Canon cameras likely worth way more than the combined value of my house, car, and life insurance captures thrilling perspectives in the film from the International Space Station.

Ten of us, ages 4 to 49, cozied into our seats earlier this fall at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s theater to peer this way at Earth’s natural features by day, such as the boot of Italy, and by night at the man-made bright spots of world-class cities.

It tickled us to watch the three Americans working and living at the Space Station for six months floating as they cut each other’s hair, sucking espresso from a pouch, and stuffing one another — with Jack-in-the-box difficulty due to zero gravity — into their cumbersome white space suits.

But when their mission wound down, the recording by Wings — a band born famous, thanks to band co-founder and former Beatle, Paul McCartney — drifted into the theater with all the fidelity of the 12-track digital surround sound system:

Someone’s knockin’ at the door

Somebody’s ringin’ the bell

Someone’s knockin’ at the door

Somebody’s ringin’ the bell

Do me a favor

Open the door and let ’em in …

For a few moments, I stopped devouring the visual feast beaming into my wonky 3-D glasses to tune into this unassuming music about answering the door — about listening to knocks and doorbells and answering.

When the American astronauts opened the Space Station’s hatch, elite scientists from former arch enemy countries drifted toward them like helium balloons bumbling along the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route in New York City.

Slowly, but surely, these astronauts with the best seats on Earth caught one another for an airy hug, for a light pat on the back.

The joy the American expatriates in space felt at this connection with other nationals after six months of seclusion cannot be measured, only savored.

With this political season so peppered with talk of walls and locks, the song around this homecoming in space seemed, well, so refreshingly warm and down to Earth.

I can’t do too much about barriers built or maintained by governments through checkpoints or red tape.

But I can listen for someone at the door during the aftermath of this cold-blooded election.

I can listen for you, and you can listen for me.

So it is with the Descalzos, the friends beside us that afternoon to view the IMAX film with our kids — each couple parenting a young son with intellectual disability related to Down syndrome.

Our friendship reflects ordinary solidarity around an extraordinary challenge — something we Americans living with gravity need more than ever after Election Day 2016.

My late Grandpa Nelson, an undertaker with a famous sense of humor and a mostly closeted generosity, once kept all sorts of kitchey plaques in his den.

One read: “My cow is dead, so I don’t need your bull.”

Another declared: “Relatives and fish both stink after three days.”

But I printed out the words of my favorite one to hang on my fridge because it reminds me — especially now — to come to the door, to open it, and to connect somehow.

That plaque stated: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Pam Mellskog can be reached at or at 303-746-0942.

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