It is approximately ten weeks we have been home bound. It is difficult for everyone, moreso for the younger of us I imagine. Carol and I are in our seventies. We are retired and somewhat isolated in the hills of central Texas. What has been most distressing for us is not being able to travel to Sacramento to see our first grandchild, Roman. We are grateful for iPhones and the photographs they provide from our daughter and son-in-law. I talk to my sister often. She can no longer go to visit my mother or my brother, both in assisted living facilities. We call them. My mother’s facility has a Skype schedule for their residents. As for my second brother, he is in a state prison in Lawty, Florida. We can only write to him and send books through Thrift Books. We worry about them every day, hearing about those in such close quarters.
Our garden is just started, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, cucumbers, lettuce, and sprinklings of radishes in between them.
There is a fence to keep the deer, turkeys and coyotes out of our yard, and to keep Bailey the dog in. We walk her daily in the deep glade that surrounds our house. We feel very fortunate, sometimes to the point of feeling guilty. These days we realize how precious are our small routines, those as modest as walking a dog or sitting on a deck watching the night come and marveling at the dependability of the symphony of birds, how the wrens subside to the mourning doves, and they to the whippoorwill, and when the dark comes, the vowels of the Great Horned owl, shadows wandering through the trees, and the guardians of our humility, the stars.
The Community Resource and Recreation Center for Canyon Lake is operating only the food bank with curb-side service for donations and for those needing assistance. The recycling center for donations of clothes and household items is closed. We venture out to continue recycling all the containers of our livelihood. It is getting harder to order curb-side for groceries, where choices are preferred. Some local restaurants still offer curb-side pickup. The community tries to support them, otherwise they would be out of business. Most restaurants have closed. Don Chente just remodeled his eatery in early January. Now he is closed. For him and many others we can only hope. Canyon Lake is a small community, not even a city or a village, just a beautiful, clear lake for residents and visitors to enjoy, a couple gas stations, Brookshire Brothers Grocery, and a few Dollar Stores. Now the lake is closed.
There is time to think deeply now. Yes, there are “miracles,” we see them everyday—the store clerks wiping down the grocery carts and the keypads at the checkout; the shoppers in masks social distancing; our doctors and nurses who saw my wife two weeks ago for symptoms and eased her mind with their testing and diagnosis; Canyon Lake’s veterinarian offering curb-side pick up for Bailey’s flea meds and shots; the hospitals in New Braunfels, thirty minutes away, reminding satellite communities of their status; and “Next Door” a local blog to keep residents appraised of everything from the availability of toilet paper to the price of gas. In January our daughter giving birth to a beautiful boy. Thinking deeply, how do miracles happen? Isn’t it always through some effort, hope in that effort, and faith? Miracles don’t “just happen.” It degrades them to think that way. Isn’t it astonishing enough what effort, hope and faith can do together? I think there has to be effort to get things rolling. Then don’t we hope our efforts succeed? In the 1960’s Buckminster Fuller wrote of God, “I seem to be a verb.” So ask yourself, what is faith without effort? Even if we do not succeed at first, it is faith that makes us try again.
Now, we must try again and again and again to make a world equal to its gifts.
There is time now to be honest. What are we learning to put into action, our next great effort when Covid 19 is under control? There is time now to look around and listen deeply. Have you heard of the recent blue skies in China, where there were none? Did you see the white peaks of the Himalayas that have been hidden by smog for years? Of these Wallace Stevens wrote:
These mountains being high be, also, bright,
Fetched up with snow that never falls to earth?
Did you see them in the television report about what effect our abstinence is having on the earth after only a few months? What have we learned from this? What have those learned who think snowballs negate global warming and pollution.
Does everyone in the future need to drive to work every day, sometimes for hours? Do we need to have so many in-person meetings that require many airplane trips to and from. Make a list of how you are living during this hiatus from the way we have lived in the past.
Think how much stress would be reduced if many of us who can work from home, using the technology available to do so. How much less would highway congestion be, and much better could we make the air?
The Earth has been a generous and forgiving mother. Somehow, in spite of ourselves, we are still here, but the rainbow is showing signs of wear. We are falling. It is how we have learned in the past. Get back up. Reach out. It’s an effort.
Photo by Patrick Emerson, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by Richard Maxson.
Browse more Pandemic Journal entries