Thoughts on a pandemic
So much has been written. What could I possibly add? I could point to the things I have repeated over and over to myself, to others. To the similarities. To the contrasts.
The shame of pandemic nostalgia. The privilege of living through this and feeling there was ground under my feet. Being able to reflect on a silver lining. The contrasts were stark — the suffering elsewhere so immense as I sat beside a pond recording birds and appreciating the slow quiet.
Shame because I know I don’t deserve this position. I have been incredibly lucky. Responsibility too. Given this oddly shaped bubble of retreat, how do I emerge with even more resolve for the good? How do I resist the undertow of recreating the old?
How did I lose the “we”? Is this what social distancing does? We are all living through this but in many different ways. Is there a stream, a song, that might connect us all at the exit? Is it BLM? Social Justice?
But it’s not over, I hear again and again. Yet I can feel the acceleration. Now it’s both. The virus and the machine.
I desperately want us to make wise choices. I want us to emerge with a sense that if we could do this, we can do anything. We can restructure for a slower world that includes the songs of birds as treasure.
If there is a song of reinvention, is it dissonant? I realize I have lost faith in universality. And yet, a part of me resists. There is an objectivity in what nurtures, what connects, what heals. Surely, a stance of courage and love for the world is universally desirable. I need to believe this. I listened to a podcast once that asked the question “What belief do you hold that, if proven wrong, would fundamentally destabilize you?”. At the time, I couldn’t answer. Now I could.
I know the rest of this year will be both unbearably hard to watch, and arrestingly beautiful. The contrasts will continue and with them a call for expansive and acute awareness.