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Fly me to the moon — not just a song for crooners

BY TERESA MALLAM

Mallam Unmuzzled

We walk on eggshells and hope we won’t crack under the strain of trying to keep safe. We wear our masks, follow the arrows and stand in our respective circles.

We currently live in crazy, chaotic times, in an unfamiliar and unsettling place. It is as if we’d  been transported to mythical Mad Hatter’s tea party, where nothing makes any sense, and the way back to normal is unclear.

The 2020 pandemic hit us suddenly, out of left field. A foul ball, as we juggled the demands of our daily lives. And no early warning system to alert us to the global attack.

Rather, we were blindsided.

Hit during the night as we slept, like a Second World War blitzkrieg, but with no safe bomb shelters to find refuge. Struck by an asteroid shower that pummelled us with problems.

After the storm came confusion, then daily briefings by a solemn-faced prime minister and pep talks by top physicians with endless graphs, models, statistics and stern warnings.

This coronavirus has left damage. And carnage. And despite my belief in a divine architect, right now it seems the planet, our world stage, has collapsed under the weight of it all.

As the COVID19 calendar marks its 11th month with news of virus variants, more stringent rules, and lockdowns across the country — even as the much anticipated, newly-minted vaccines roll out — we have to brace for more.

There is a song from a Broadway musical on  auto replay in my brain with the title lyrics:

“Stop the world, I want to get off.”

Star gazers seek solace in their cosmos. Some earthlings fantasize about life on the moon. And just this week, people gathered to glimpse a rare  aligning of the planets.

On Monday, Dec. 21, astrologists tell us that Jupiter and Saturn reached their closest encounter (conjunction) since the 17th century. Wow. Yet, down here on Earth we have to keep three metres apart.

And with China’s spacecraft racing triumphantly back to Earth with the first moon rock samples collected in decades, and NASA paying private exploration companies for lunar rocks, there is  renewed interest in all things celestial.

Who can blame them? Gazing upwards into the starry, starry skies looks pretty good right about now as we close out 2020, a year that Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth would likely call an “annus horribilis extremis.”

But just as the so-named God of Chaos asteroid is scheduled to come very near — but not collide — with Earth in 2026, I think most of us hope and expect to dodge a catastrophic coronavirus bullet by simply following the rules.

“Fly me to the moon. Let me play among the stars… And let me see what Spring is like on Jupiter or Mars.” Or the Moon? Beam me up. Happy star gazing. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays.

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