During last week’s momentous news making event in the USA, one story seemed to slip by like another silent turn in the phases of the moon. Unless it’s a full moon or a super moon like the one last November, appearances like a mellow, milky slice of a quarter moon tend to go unnoticed even in a clear night sky.
Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, died on Monday, January 16 at age 82.
Ironically, with the memorable 1969 event of the first man to walk on the moon, that moonshine headliner of my lifetime will still eclipse even this moon walking story.
And I’ll bet if you ask someone in a top five Twitter contest, about the history of moon walking, Michael Jackson might even beat out Neil Armstrong.
Well I do remember quite vividly that first moonwalk, and admittedly, until last week I had forgotten about the last walk. Maybe part of me thought, “Weren’t we still doing it?” However, even with the rise of a full-on new moon in the USA, the passing of Cernan did register in my mind. If you were a child or teenager in the 1960s, going to the moon and walking on it was a big deal. By the time 1972 rolled around, I think the world had already begun to take moon news for granted.
Today I write thinking good thoughts, warm thoughts about those who first walked on a cold moon, and I also cannot help but think that all that moon walking, and furthermore spacewalking, may hold some secrets to longevity. After all Neil Armstrong lived to age 82 and earth orbiter John Glenn passed away last December at age 95.
Buzz Aldrin the second person to walk on the moon celebrated his 87th birthday on Jan.20. His party must have been overshadowed though.
Sadly, the same longevity pattern did not follow cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin, the first person to journey into outer space. He died nearly fifty years ago in a plane crash at age 34. But he leaves us a message appropriate for our time in 2017 and beyond. Even his smile seems eternal.
Of course, all this longevity celebration of the likes of Cernan, Armstrong, Glenn, Aldrin and others may just be romancing the glory of a chosen few from a storybook past of adventure and discovery. Yet at least allow some credit for sprinkling a little moon dust of optimism at a time when some might otherwise observe it as being our winter of discontent.
P.S. What will you think the next time you see older people keeping fit in your local shopping mall…maybe they are happily moon walking away?