It has dominated our lives and normality seems to be a distant memory. A virus so small that you could fit one hundred million copies on a pinhead. And now, every news article, every advert, every part of our day is permeated with the effect of this tiny destroyer. The effect on humanity has not only been physical but mental; putting untold stress on families and individuals. Pressures of finance and missing loved ones. Social distancing is necessary but at the same time we are having to fight our natural urge to be with others.Even when browsing on a computer, every web page has some ‘helpful’item to remind you of the pandemic. It is foremost in our thoughts.

In all of this, though, it helps to remember that ‘life goes on’.Conscious that life can easily revolve around the wrong things, I have started to look for pastimes that will allow me to escape and experience more of life. In my struggle to find news articles that weren’t littered with references to COVID-19,I discovered that new images are being released from the surface of Mars showing with incredible detail a distant world that awaits our arrival. If that were not enough, the Hubble Telescope, has recently been sending back its 30th birthday pictures of deep space.Showing, with breath-taking beauty, a view of our Universe that is invisible to both the naked eye and earth-bound telescopes. Images from deep space that remind us how just how small we are but, at the same time, part of something much bigger. It is understandable for us to be focusing on that one thing we cannot even see and forget that there are much greater and grander things to inspire the soul. I challenge you to Google those images and spend some time pondering the vastness of space and how amazing this Universe is.As part of our weekly cultural challenge, visit https://poly.google.com/view/7iJxw_HjOsk to do a virtual tour of an Elizabethan home. Daydream about what it must have been like to live in those times and in that place.

So, let us set ourselves a challenge to find something that allows us to focus on something that is not COVID-19 related. I’ve not played the piano for over ten years, but I’m ready to begin revisiting it. I plan to again lose myself in Beethoven’s haunting Moonlight Sonata and Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude. To momentarily escape to another world.

This will end. It may seem an eternity away but let us make sure that we don’t look back on this as wasted time. So tonight, if the sky is clear, go and stare at those stars and remember that they were the same stars that you saw when life was ‘normal’. Just for a moment, let yourself forget the chaos that we are currently experiencing and instead have a few moments of awe, knowing that this will end, and life will go on. Let us use this time to find new things to focus on

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