Life in the time of the Pandemic:
Mary Vermilion wrote a great blog post about how this time is full of conflicting, but understandable, emotional states. Mourning for the normalcy that is suddenly gone. Gladness that we can find a way. Happy to do my part, but sad that this silent killer is stalking our lives.
But it is also tiring to be so constantly torn between emotional poles.
And that’s when I escape outside. Sometimes, while caring for a young grandson, that means a nice hike in a mostly-deserted park (my wife an I have almost made a sport of trying to plot where the most pleasant walks will be with the least people, and we’ve been pretty good at it). Most often, it means a bicycle ride, which I’ve written about on my bike blog.
It’s odd to be “sheltering in place” but to still have access to the great outdoors. There is still a lot we don’t know about COVID-19, but we’re fairly confident that avoiding proximity to other humans is the main way to foil this mindless killer. So, I wash my hands, and wear a bandana (mostly for others’ protection) on bicycle rides.
Spring has turned Iowa green. On the Mount Mercy campus, pear trees by the library are bursting with flowers. The campus is ahead of my yard—magnolias, lilac, peonies, crab apples and bluebells are ready to bloom and each day act like they may burst. But not quite yet.
Grass that we planted in mid-March is finally starting to show. Smaller trees have young new leaves, but the big older ones are still not out of their winter slumber.
And I take it all in. It is a wonderful world. Although even in that joyful thought there is sorrow. It’s also a world of COVID-19, crazy presidents, protesters who falsely equate social distancing public health rules with tyranny and civil rights. Presidents and people can be idiots.
But flowers are still there. The sweet, fresh sights of an Iowa spring—may we tune into the small joys of this sorrowful seasons and carry on. I guess I seek the quiet beauty of nature to remind myself of the you, that the universe is wonderful and doesn’t revolve around me, and to keep hope alive.
I suppose it’s another form of privilege to live in a place where there is some space and I can get outdoors. If you live in such a place, please enjoy the beauty of spring with me—at a distance. If you are in a place where proximity won’t allow it, I am sorry for that reality.
May we get, through sane action, to a new reality that will allows us to be together again.