Corona. COVID 19. The Virus.
Schools are closed, libraries are closed, businesses keep closing, as the world scurries to catch up to this new menace brought to us by Nature itself. And it's worrisome, to be sure, all the unknowns. But I'm encouraged, at how swiftly humanity came together: science, faith, academics, business leaders, philanthropists, the medical community, political leaders, and consumers, alike. As one.
We found a quick-moving threat to our way of life, to our people. We acted, and we learn as we go, and then we share information. And that's what I love so much about the scientific community - the sharing. The information. The mutual learning. The respect of data and facts in decision-making and leadership. The rising of art and community and kindness and giving and teaching and caregiving, in the wake of crisis, to offer a respite from fear. To stay the course, with a sense of calm.
Social distancing. Family time or isolation. Adjusting. Watching. Waiting. Adapting. Staying kind.
And the quiet. The downtime. In the peaceful spaces when I tear myself away from the news cycle and the feeds and the worry and the work - in the quiet, meditative spaces, I come home. I breathe.
The Sun has been out, the skies bluer than blue, the birds are singing their Springtime songs - yes, we've been out in the garden. It's only been a few days of trying to work a bit from home, to make sure my child gets in some reading, some exercise, some healthy food, and good rest. To make sure we all do. To be...home. To have what we need and to surrender some wants, for a time.
And out back, in the yard, with a pitchfork in my hands and the Sun on my back... there was peace. Stillness. An inner joy, a deeper connection, and believe it or not, a sort of gratitude, despite the chaos and confusion and worry that so many of us feel. I wouldn't wish for a plague to come upon us - but in the mess, I've seen the skies clear. Skies in parts of the world that were previously choking with fumes, with air so unhealthy that the people in these countries couldn't even venture outside on certain days.
Unable to breathe air.
To be able to visit with Nature on any given day is a human right. The Earth, air, wind, sun, water... are free to all lifeforms, here. And yet, somehow, we lose that balance, over and over, in the pursuit of industry and ease and progress and material wealth. And not all progress is bad, to be sure. Industry and technology bring us life changing things. We need all of it, in the right ways.
And I sat out there, today. In the dirt. Earthworms wriggling around in the freshly turned earth - new tunnels to make, new pockets to aerate.
"Look, Mommy! It's so wiggly and slimy!" My son ran to me with a new friend in his palm. I remembered doing the same when I was a child. Each generation, in this family, there is at least one who has a connection to the Earth and its sweet, simple magic. Her stories and wisdom. Her healing properties.
"Oooooh, that's a good one... let's get him back in so he can keep digging, right! He's doing his job for us..."
A new family of Blue Jays fluttered from treetop to treetop. There was a scuffle of Cardinals, and that neighborhood cat strolled by, and then a pile of red and gray feathers fell to the ground as the female escaped, quickly. A few squirrels danced through the branches, like cartoon characters, out-racing and out-maneuvering each other, knocking pinecones down as they ran. No bunnies, not yet.
And I remembered, when I first started this garden, about 5 years ago, how I would dream about giving Mother Earth a spa day. A break; some time off. "All she does is give..." I'd say. I've been a sad case, overly concerned about this planet, since childhood. It's where most of my anxiety comes from. Caring too deeply about this Earth-home that I call my Mother. Even before I learned about Pocahontas. I was just born this way - a nature girl. And I can't help but notice... how our Mama Earth is responding, as we stay home and stop producing so wildly, for a bit.
Sure, it's a mess for the economy, and that's real. We'll have to dig out, there's no question. It's scary, health-wise, and we may lose folks to this disease as we do to flu and cancer and so many other things. And it's hard to escape the updates, they're everywhere. But we'll get a handle on it. I do believe that. It'll take as long as it takes, I imagine. We don't know enough about this virus, which is why it's scary. We can't estimate its behavior, really. We're blind, until science gathers more data. And measurable data takes time to collect and gather. But we have the best and brightest working on it, as we lay low. And wait it out. And do our best to protect our healthcare workers.
But out there, in the garden, with all the gadgets turned off... it feels as though Mother Earth is breathing deeply. Her lungs are healing. Our air is clearing. Gaia sighs, and maybe, even smiles, for a while.
So, in the midst of the mess, there is a small miracle taking place. There is a silver lining, in all of this. And I do pray that we can continue forward, with all this simple wisdom in our pockets. Being able to respond and manage any new viruses that may come. And seeing how much harm we cause, unintentionally, in how we run our lives so busily. In how we do business. In how we consume. As far as lessons for the future go, for building communities and sustaining long-term, for urban and rural planning, we've got gold to learn from, right now. If we pay attention.
How our school systems work, how our business models work, how our communications work, how caring human beings really are for each other, what our vital needs and operations truly are, what our energy needs are and how better to achieve them, how quickly we can respond, collectively, in crisis. It's an incredible opportunity to study how we behave, and how to improve. Should we choose to. And we ought to.
It's not a far stretch...from PUBLIC HEALTH to the health of the planet. Our air, our waters, our forests, our outdoor spaces.... are all matters of public health. It's all connected, it's all the same. And I'm excited about how we're learning, and navigating these times, together. I'm glad to be here, to be awake to it, to watch it all unfold. We can't see it now... but we are in a very special moment in our story. How we write it from here on out, is up to us.
And I'll do my part...and stay home, for now, but oh...does it fire my creativity and world-view thinking.
Sending so much Love and patience... we're all in this together. xo
Mother. Librarian. Storyteller.