Gratitude and inequality in corona times

Everyday my family talks about the coronavirus.

We are fortunate. We have food and my job is the kind of job that lets me easily work from home. Some people are working in hospitals treating people who are sick. Some people are losing their jobs.

We are fortunate. We have a yard with baseball rebounders and hockey nets. We can walk to fields and play in the sun and stay safe and separate, greeting neighbors from distances more than six feet. Some people are stuck inside more than we are.

We are fortunate. We have the resources to weather this challenge and find little joys every day. A few Instagram worthy meals. A yard needing the satisfying work of spring cleanup. Snowdrops and crocuses pushing their way up reminding us of renewal.

The pain of this crisis falls disproportionately on our most vulnerable citizens. Nationwide hourly workers are losing their jobs and they likely have no cushion.

Single parents have an unimaginable workload as they try to balance parenting, educating their children, paying bills when the outlook is uncertain.

Parents of children with special needs fine their safety net ripped to shreds as providers are no longer able to support them all the while their children have fear and need more.

Elderly and people with significant health issues must self isolate to avoid serous complications and death. They count on all of us to reduce the exposure and transmission.

Last week, our society was reshaped by coronavirus. Planning and preparing for our new reality was time consuming. Anxiety was high. Gratitude was important first step. My gratitude highlighted inequalities that are important to work to address.

This week, I will work on addressing the inequities. There are representatives and senators to call. There are nonprofits to donate to. There are isolated friends to reach out to.

Be well. We can weather this if we keep our hearts connected while our bodies stay separate

Morning path

The paths are familiar. I remember bike rides and jumping in to rescue my son from a fall into two inches of rich chocolate brown mud. His front side perfectly clean and his back perfectly covered like he had been dipped in mud.

I remember catching frogs in the ponds and our squeals.

I remember an enormous pile of pine cones and an industrious squirrel. My amazement couldn’t not translate to my tween son.

Today I walk alone, my teen son sound asleep. I notice weeping branches against the gray sky. Runic messages in the roots telling me my fate if I care to translate. Today I love the texture and mess of wet spotted leaves. No instagram filters here.

A splash of green has me curious. Why so bright just weeks before the first snow. I feel the joy of those green leaves. Externally hopeful.

Did you see it?

Pop!

I look up to see a bright explosion and a falling line. 

I walk toward the sound and talk to neighbors and strangers.

What if someone had been walking? We say.

When will the firefighters arrive?

How frightened the people in the house must be!

Shouldn’t the power shut off automatically?

Wise looks and nods follow.

The air fills with acrid electric smoke. The line rattles and sizzles and squirms, warning humans to keep their distance.

Fire fighters gather. They watch and wait.

Police divert traffic.

Blue, red and yellow lights flicker from their vehicles.

Us bystanders huddle in the cold rain, take photos and ask questions.

The flames grow larger.

The power company comes and goes.

Somewhere a hand trips a circuit. The life force drains from the line.

The work to repair and restore can begin.

The flame that drew us close releases us. We say goodbye and go about our day.

Just a little bit more connected.

Micro-Retreat

Months of stressful multitasking has left my mind and body depleted. It took extraordinary planning to carve out a few precious hours. Could a short break have a notable effect on my spirit?

After a parent teacher meeting, I take the slow way home, a road that winds through woods and fields.  I let my heart lead me, took the some time off from work, took my last look at emails and social media, and disabled most phone alerts.

Why did I have so many alerts set for things that don’t matter? Isn’t there enough urgency in the world without manufacturing more?

After creating some distance from the demands of my life, I head to the ocean, armed with everything I needed: good coffee, sunglasses, a pad of paper and a pen.

I set out on more winding roads. April foliage looks bare but the start of life is all around. You can smell it in the air.

As I turned a corner, the ocean came into the view. The waves were slate with a soft baby blue skimming the surface. A mist rose blurring the boundary between liquid and gas, softening the rocky edge of a pine topped island. Oh to live on a spot of land surrounded  by the beating ocean.

Each turn of my wheel, I feel more and more giddy. I called to myself to keep this real. Is it possible that the ocean means this much to me?

Perhaps it can. Perhaps the code of the waters are embedded in my DNA.

 

On the edge of the beach, I notice a gray haired woman with a white cane. If I lose my sight, I will still come to the ocean. When I open the car door, a rush of cold sea air greets me. I take a deep breath and taste kelp. The woman’s face turns to the sound of my car door closing. I walk up and greet her. Her face radiates with the love of the ocean. She cannot see that mine does as well. I talk about the sounds, and smells and cold air. I want to share my joy in with her in the ways she knows the shore.

I sit on the sand and close my eyes and the sound of the waves become more complex. The sun is warm on my face. The air cold.

Yes. Even without sight I would love this place.

I open my eyes. The churning of the sea makes me feel stable. Blues and greens mixing with white. The rhythm matches my breath. I catch a glimpse of larger waves through the rocks. I want to get closer. I take my shoes off and walk along the beach.

I climb the steps that take me to the tops of the headlands and walk high above the sea. I am reminded of Mendocino though the scale of the Atlantic cliffs are much smaller.

I see a sign and wonder is this a trail marker or a warning.

The sounds of the waves deepen. I walk to the end of the point and sit cautiously on the edge.

I can feel my hour winding down. Slowly, like one rises from a massage, I prepare to rejoin the busy world.

I walk along the path listening to the birds signing in the barren branches.

In the car, I turn back only the most essential alerts.

And I answer my own question. A well planned hour can have a notable effect on my spirit.

via Daily Prompt: Notable

They looked for angels

They looked for glistening silver wings. They looked for radiance. They listened for voices so beautiful their throats would clench.

They overlooked their frowning neighbor who volunteered in the homeless shelter on the weekends.

They looked for the guardians that would give them their heart’s desire. They looked for signs that their lives were charmed. They listened for a wisdom greater than their own.

They overlooked the kind and gentle support they offered to the tantrumming child that gave his mother a few moments to compose.

They looked for majestic and brilliant beings and overlooked angels in their midst.

—–

This morning thinking of what life would be like if we all explored the angelic within ourselves and others.

Her hands

Always lumpy.

Long slender fingers with unsightly large joints.

Flexible. Too flexible. Tips curved up slightly.

Always chewed and bitten. Cuticles, not nails.

Sometimes calloused.

Always dry.

Now with scars from gardening. From cooking. From art.

Now spotted from brilliant sun light while biking. While kayaking.

Now wrinkled from years passing.

Quickly. Far too quickly.

Always gentle.