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Blue Dunes on a Red Planet

Probably after a year of being holed up during the pandemic my vintage telescope got dusted off and star gazing began. As I tried to capture the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, not too successfully I might add, I wondered what the heck could I have seen in this scope when I was a child.

Then I remembered signing up at the Hayden Planetarium as a youngster, with my Dad, to volunteer for the first trip to the moon. This seemed about as likely as replicating Homer’s, the Iliad and the Odyssey but I signed up anyway. It was after this visit to the Planetarium that we went out and my father bought us this telescope. We crowded around to see the “heavens”. I remember my excitement when I was able to see the different colors of stars. Then also that led to trying to identify the planets and the constellations!

Truly exciting stuff when you are but 4 or 5 years old (actually still quite exciting) I remember my Dad lifting me up to be able to see through the scope as my brothers pulled at my shorts to get me down so that they could have another turn at the prized sighting position.

Well, the excitement continued with the images of the recent trip to Mars and seeing in the vividly beautiful photographs the blue dunes on a red planet. As we know about our own mother earth...we are a beautiful somewhat pearly blue planet when we look back from space. Here there's an opportunity for a new business venture...we now have blue dunes on a red planet and I am already saddened. I am saddened because just as quickly it was written up as possible to inhabit or even take it’s very valuable commodity...water. Here we exist on a planet full of life giving oxygen as more and more trees are cut down. The “lungs“ of the world are increasingly ravaged in the name of greed and water rights which are signed away to big corporations to charge what the market will bear. As we can see, man has already littered up the moon with a significant amount of garbage and has created a sky filled with space stations, satellites and space junk in the name of progress. Here I thought maybe we would be allowed to just be astounded by the beauty of the photographs and not it’s possibility of future real estate and mining opportunities.

Please don’t let the Beautiful Blue Dunes on a Red Planet become another extreme retreat for the rich and famous to abuse and create yet another prestigious real estate holding until the next "planet" becomes the rage. Why the rush? So many corporations and enterprising talents such as Elon Musk and his "Space X" are rushing off to compete for the latest contract to send man to the moon, again. Haven't we left enough trash up there already? I wish we were sending a huge garbage bin up into space to get it all back, but that would probably be the size of ten of those ginormous cargo ships one sees on the horizon making their way across transatlantic waters.

Can’t we just allow the beauty to linger a little while longer?

Tonight I will go out and ignore the space junk in the sky and look at the twinkling stars and planets on the celestial backdrop and be captivated by the moon in all its subtle changing glory. Then I will lean back and summon all the primordial energy of my DNA and howl at that mysterious and beautiful orb. While I may look like a crazy woman, I think this should be the reaction of any sane human being. Remember howling at the moon has been done for thousands of years. We long to have our voice heard and echo...and maybe even have someone howl back! In times of feeling out of sink and powerless over the rapid changes in our night sky, there is something comforting, even powerful in this action. Howling at the moon has the added benefit of allowing one to have a great night's sleep even though it hasn't been "medically proven," just yet. Maybe that will become the new "health" trend for mind, body and soul. Try it... it just might keep you sane.

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