Okay, so maybe the statistics weren’t my best idea. After all, what do the numbers mean but the number of souls who perished during this pandemic? That’s simply tragic and heartbreaking. And impersonal. I still collect the numbers in my journal for whatever uncharacteristically compulsive reason, but they are not the most important thing.
Covid-19 will join the ranks of other historic viruses that have affected over 2 million people across the globe. The bad news is that it is not over. One of the many good news items is that the curve seems to be flattening. Our efforts to maintain social distancing and maintain our handwashing and face-covering seems to be working. I hope we can all sustain the challenge for another few months so that we don’t have to do this all over again in the fall. I, for one, would like to hug my grandson again.
And there is more good news! Lots of it! In this blog, I want to share some of those silver linings.
A Room with a View
For me, one of the biggest silver linings has been working remotely and the view from my ‘office’ window. It really is an office. It’s where I write, correspond, etc. It’s my ‘happy place’. The window, especially, brings much joy to my days. There are always signs of ongoing life, unaffected by Covid-19. For example, I watched a pair of wood ducks skimming across the pond this week. Once I scared them when I let the dog out. Nothing like the flutter of wood duck wings to get the adrenaline going. A humungous pileated woodpecker zoomed across the yard to land in the wood line and do a little jackhammering on an old poplar. Bluebirds are doing battle with swallows for the houses and I’m encouraged by evidence that this year, that the bluebirds are winning! Yay! I found a tiny nest that had fallen from a tree. No eggs nearby so maybe last year’s nest. I do believe I see some buds on the trees. Nature continues to remind us that we are bigger than the virus. Life may not be what it was before Covid but it will go on. We will be okay.
One of the reasons I watch the news at night, besides collecting tragic data, is to see what creative and inspiring ways people are celebrating other people. How awesome is it to hear people in Spain, Italy and the United States making a joyful noise to health care workers changing shifts? That brings me to tears. They deserve every shout out, handclap, pot banging sound of gratitude that we can give them. And it doesn’t stop with healthcare workers. I’ve seen signs in people’s windows thanking sanitation employees for picking up the garbage and people thanking the grocery clerks and restaurant employees for coming to work so that we could have food. The list of everyday heroes is long: postal workers, teachers (working remotely is a challenge, so I consider them heroes for hanging in there), EMS, law enforcement and firemen and women, business and government leaders who lead well through this difficult time, child care providers, truck drivers, mechanics ( we still have to have our cars maintained and inspections done), manufacturers of PPE and medical devices, pharmacist and techs, cottage industry seamstresses who are making face cloths and construction and utility workers. If I missed an essential worker, my apologies. These people are putting their lives at greater risk so that the essential parts of living continue to work for us. Thank you. Every single one of you is a hero in my book. My favorite everyday hero is my sister, a seamstress who is working her fingers to the bone, sewing face covers and donating a hefty chunk of them to healthcare workers, like my teammates. Fear and anxiety seem small compared to the extraordinary outpouring of gratitude that I’ve seen during this difficult time. I hope the show of appreciation lasts long after the virus is history.
Creative Use of Creativity
Remote technology has given us a real-time look into the homes and lifestyles of the rich and famous! Laugh if you like but with all the artists putting on concerts in their homes on national television, I get to see the inside of their houses, get to see their kids pick their nose and act out on public television and I am not only entertained but reminded that we are all connected on yet another level. Writers (like me) are giving away books, cultural venues are offering digital experiences for the public, often free of charge or a minimal donation or ‘tip’. Creative people are using the shotgun wedding of digital entertainment and communication with the mental health needs of global citizens to create new opportunities for sharing our passions and talents. It’s an extraordinary time of collaboration that is more healing than maybe we even realize yet. The question in my mind is: what else can we do?
One of the most important bits of good news is that in this time of human slow down, the earth is healing. Air pollution is significantly down across the planet, the canals in Venice are clean and commercial energy emissions have plummeted. I keep looking up at the stars each night to see if I can see the Milky Way yet. I haven’t, but I keep hoping. Of course, we don’t celebrate at the cost of human life, but it should force us to acknowledge that if we can accomplish this as a result of a forced reduction, we could choose to keep living in ways that limit our use of fossil fuels and dirty energy.
So, though the war against this virus goes on and we must mourn the loss of loved ones, there are also places of hope, inspiration and life. My wish for each of us is that we find ways every day to be in gratitude for the blessings we find, celebrate the places where joy is found and honor the gifts of every sentient being on this planet.
Be safe, be well and be kind.