We’re in this together

I’ve been going back and forth over what to write. Do I discuss what we’re all thinking about right now – or trying hard not to – or do I write something funny to take our minds off it?

Or do I blow off the whole thing and just take a nap instead?

On the one hand, everyone is likely tired of reading about the pandemic; on the other hand, how do I ignore what is staring right at us?

And then this morning I’m sitting in my sunroom practicing my clarinet, looking out at the bird feeders in my backyard, and it’s so easy – so terribly easy – to believe all is right with the world.clarinet sunroomFor just a little while, I forget there are schools closed, that people are working from home or maybe not working at all, that many are afraid and no one has any idea what will happen or when it will end.

But when I look out my window, the squirrels are still picking up acorns and seeds. From the trees I hear the “fee-bee” call of a male chickadee looking for a mate, and on the large oak tree over to the left is a pileated woodpecker, hammering away, finding his breakfast of ants and beetles.

Whatever else may be happening in the world, nature goes on.

And that’s when it occurred to me, that is exactly what is happening right now. Nature is doing what nature does best: finding a way to survive. And this virus is doing one bang-up job of it.

Meanwhile, we wash our hands and stand six feet apart and look at doorknobs more warily than we did before.

If nothing else, this experience forces us to realize how connected we are. All of us, all of life – animal, vegetable, mineral, fungus, bacteria, the very air we breathe – all interwoven and evolving together. And if one of us gets out of whack, the others are affected.interconnectedAt the convent where I work, the Sisters were forced to make the very difficult decision to close their doors to the public. These Franciscan women have lived their lives focused outward, always thinking of the other, but now they had to face reality. If the virus entered the convent, it could decimate their community.

But even now they’re considering how they may still reach out. My office is considering what services could be provided online, if an upcoming retreat can be live-streamed or a “Good Friday Prayer Walk” done remotely. We’re trying to think creatively.

And really, aren’t we lucky to live at a time when these creative alternatives are  possible? When digital contact can give us some semblance of real contact and we don’t have to feel so alone? When we can feel connected, if only online?

Funny thing, after I had written the above, one of the Sisters sent me this poem. It was composed by a Unitarian Universalists minister from the Bay area. I’m only giving an excerpt here – I highly recommend you read the whole piece (it’s not too long) – you can find it at her site: lynnungar.com

Anyway, she says everything I was wanting to say, only far more eloquently:

An excerpt from Pandemic

Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Lynn Ungar, 3/11/20

Interesting thought — to consider this an opportunity to reach out in compassion, to feel that connection, even in isolation.

I’m willing to give it a shot.

Even now as I write this, not knowing who will be reading it but figuring – hoping – someone will. For this moment, we share a connection. A sense of, hey, I’m here. I’m a person and I care.

And if you’re here – if you read this far (thanks, by the way) – do us a favor and leave a little note in the comments letting us know who you are. Even if you never commented before, just let us know where you live and how you’re doing. It can be as short or as wordy as you want. Because unless you live in Greenland, chances are you’re affected by all of this. Let us know who you are, and then see who is here with you. We worry less when we’re not alone.

So take a moment to introduce yourself, make a friend or two, and then snuggle in for a nap.

I have it on the best authority: it’s the cure for what ails you.cats sleeping


48 thoughts on “We’re in this together

  1. I appreciate blogging now more than ever! Illinois has closed our restaurants and bars yet went ahead with primary elections yesterday. Youngest and JP and I walked through the neighborhood this morning and not many people were out but we found a few to wave at who were in their doorways or walking dogs. It felt good to be outdoors for a bit! Stay safe and well❤️

    1. We’re keeping well, thanks. I agree, blogging helps us feel more connected — and long walks are good for our sanity! Hope all stays well with you, too. ❤️

  2. Here in CA, we’ve been locked down. I’m working from home and looks like we’ll be like this for at least three weeks. We have enough supplies and still do our lunch time walks.

    and washing our hands a lot.

    1. I was reading some news from England, it sounds like we’re all in the same boat but some are better and helping keep it afloat.
      Finding the positives sounds right to me!

  3. Hey buddy! Yeah, we are all in this together. I’m seeing amazing acts of kindness, creative solutions and the indomitable human spirit shining through. Stay safe, my friend.

    1. You’re right, there are some amazing people out there. It’s all a matter of where you put your focus. We’ll get through this if we stick (far apart) together! 🙂

  4. Here in Arizona, the level of community coronavirus spread is ‘minimal’ and the level of risk is ‘low’ in most areas. The lockdown situation is likely similar to most other states. Our community has closed down our fitness centre, library, etc. Grocery stores are all open – changing their hours so that they can disinfect more often, fill the shelves, and arrange for seniors shopping, online orders, etc. They also are limiting ‘fear buying’ so they can get toilet paper back on the shelves.

    We, as Canadians, are in a day by day watch mode. We have been advised to come back to Canada, but we believe the drive home and the situation in our province would put us at more risk than just staying in AZ. Much depends on what our insurance company does!

    1. Oh wow — I didn’t think about the snowbirds getting back home! I hope you’re able to do it before the intense heat comes. But of course, staying healthy takes precedent.

      My son works at Target in Phoenix and is getting lots of extra hours, just to help disinfect. It sounds like the stores are probably cleaner than our homes!

      1. We normally leave AZ by the end of April. No reason to think we won’t be able to do that! “Have Car, Will Travel”!
        Target has a good plan in place for online shopping, special shopping times for seniors and mobility problem people. Kudos to Target and your son!

  5. I live in SE Michigan, about 12 miles from Detroit – today the government closed down the northernmost border of Canada/United States for non-essential travel. That was a surprise. he border at Detroit is the longest border for these two countries. For me, I have worked at home since 2011 (legal secretary for a sole practitioner – labor law for management), so thus far it has not been too strange for me. And, I have no family and no friends live by, so no one is coming to the house to bring in germs. So far so good, but the fear of needing something that I don’t have here already, in a few weeks’ time, tells me I will feel like a lamb led to slaughter.

    1. Hi Linda – thanks for the comment. I’d heard about the border closing but didn’t think about the impact. There’s just so much going on it’s hard to process it all.
      We have churches and organizations in our area trying to arrange ways to deliver groceries and supplies to people, I hope there’s something like that in your area, though the problem is how to make those connections.
      Some have pointed out how many weaknesses this pandemic is uncovering for our society. They’re not kidding!

      1. Hi Christi – Yes, there is a lot going on and changing by the hour it seems. I’ve never heard so many press conferences held at the federal or state level in such a short time, even after 9/11. We do have Meals on Wheels for Seniors and we have some people who are volunteering to deliver food and groceries to people who, for various health reasons, cannot shop for themselves, as well, especially going out of their way to locate the supplies that some people were buying/hoarding within the last week. Yes, no kidding that it has been a sad testament to our society when you follow social media or watch the news.

  6. Here in Tucson, pretty much every public venue is shut down. This past weekend was the final performance of the season for Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra sadly. We had been planning to do Beethoven’s Ninth for the closing of our 40th anniversary season. But the cool thing was – the facility was big enough that we had a good audience with room to spread out. And many came. Plus we live streamed on YouTube and the group’s Facebook page. We might actually get more fans because of it. (There were not any other music groups performing.) Check it out here – we had a painter painting while we were playing Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

    Meanwhile, my daughter is visiting with grandson Leif and Finn who has down syndrome. She is very happy that they (and we) live out in the country, as Finn has respiratory struggles constantly, which is pretty normal for DS. And so I’m trying to figure out how to keep Leif, who is 7, entertained without the usual playground and store visits. We made a bean bag toss game today, which seems to be a big hit.

    Thanks for checking in. It was a nice diversion.

    1. Whoa… that was cool! I loved how he seemed to dance as he painted, and why wouldn’t he? Especially with the great horn section, right? 😉
      Seriously, thank you for sharing it. I needed a diversion myself and this was perfect.

      By the way, now that you’re here I’ll ask: how do I find your blog? When I click your name it goes to your Etsy shop. (I confess, if there’s another way of getting to someone’s blog, I missed the memo.)

  7. Hey CJ, this really is the topic du jour, isn’t it? I wonder if we’re all overreacting, but we’ll never know. We’ll only know of we under-react and the worst comes to pass. Mostly I just hang tight and see if anyone needs assistance. No takers so far. So let’s just keep our germs to ourselves, I guess, and follow the cats’ lead. Seems they have the right idea.

    1. I read an interview of an epidemiologist who said he wishes more people would overreact, but we in the U.S. are far too proud and we don’t like being told what to do. So who knows what will happen?
      You know, I think what I like best about having cats is how grounded they keep me. Whatever worries I may have, they always know better.

    1. Hi Laura! Thank you for the comment and well wishes! Hope all is well in Osage Beach (Sounds like a great place for a vacation, once we can travel again.)

  8. I love the kitty photo. 🙂

    I read that Greenland has coronavirus too.

    I just returned a couple of hours ago back to Canada. Strange to come back to a big city that just 10 days ago was bustling along. Now it’s so quiet! I’m going to be self-isolating for 14 days because I was out of the country but will be working from home. A new experience.

    1. Greenland too?! Wow.

      Just learned at work today that everyone is to take next week off – with pay – and stay home. The hope is that we can come back after that, but most of us don’t see how that’s possible. We also don’t know how long they can continue paying us, but I guess we’ll just wait and see.

  9. Thanks, Christi for an excellent post.

    Well, I’ve been traveling across the state of Florida. mostly interstate but I’m now on A1A along the Atlantic coast and I’ll travel the gulf coast across the panhandle back to New Orleans, my family home. What I’m seeing is empty interstates, empty motels, and restaurants. People are friendly but cautious when strangers come to town but soon realize that we’re all in this together.
    This is not a trip I’m taking for leisure even though i love a good road trip. I’m returning home from a Clinical Trial for 23 & Me and the Parkinson’s Foundation, trying to find out a way to go further into the human genome to predict the onset of Parkinson’s at an early age. As of now, it is a guessing game that relies on observation of distinct movements.
    I wish everyone well and take care of yourselves… jc

    1. My husband and I were talking about this just the other day, that in the midst of this pandemic, there are people tackling their own medical problems and crises. I admire your openness to participate in the trial and I hope it leads to some hope for a cure, even prevention.
      As for driving through empty towns, restaurants, etc. — the similarities to Twilight Zone are very disconcerting! 😬

  10. This here is why I love you and your blog, Christi. You just put to words what I’ve been thinking: that in these uncertain times we are still so interconnected. And that we should embrace it. Make the best of it. Find those darn silver linings (because I’m certain they exist). So, about how I’m doing: you know, I’m living in Colorado. Grateful that my 26 year old artist kiddo is living with us know instead of stuck in Indianapolis in a crummy apartment worrying about how to pay rent with their online art. Grateful for the fact that for the time being anyway, I’m going to work Mon-Fri, coming up with creative ways to get food to the low income seniors we serve and building team work with my co-workers (which is especially interesting as there are 3 new co-workers so the dynamics have changed considerably). Grateful for getting to spend more time with our dog Radar and our bonus pet, pretty kitty Karl (my fuzzy grand-cat). Thanks for this post. It has inspired me!

    1. Thanks, Rhonda! I’m glad there are teams such as yours looking out for our seniors. We checked in our neighbors yesterday (it may turn into a blog post, unsure at this point). If anything, this has taught me how important it is to keep in touch. I’ve always been terrible at that – this is a real eye-opener!
      Right now my kids are getting extra hours and doing okay, especially as they can’t spend the extra money they’re making. 😉
      Glad you’re doing well!

  11. Your post hit the bulls-eye, Christi. Somehow you managed to say what we are all thinking and make us laugh too. I am happy to hear that you are doing well, and hope that the Sisters stay healthy too. Yesterday, we returned early from South America, before all the airports were closed. We are relieved to be home, and like most everyone else, we are self-isolating for awhile. Good to see you practicing your clarinet. Watch out Squidward and Benny Goodman!

    1. Ah, I’m so glad you made it back in time! I can only imagine what it must feel like for the ones who are scrambling trying to find a way home.
      Would you believe I only just recently learned of Squidward? Speaking of which, I might have some insecurity issues when it comes to my clarinet prowess, but let me assure you on this score: My tone is better than Squidward Tentacles. 😎 🎵

  12. Hi Christi, I tracked you back after your recent like and visit but I’ll tell everyone else as well that I’m from Cornwall in the UK. We were a relative backwater with few cases, but people relocating from other parts of the UK down to us to ‘escape the virus’ will probably see that going up. For my part, loads to do in the garden (yard) to keep me busy and happily so remote that if we see a car on our lane we assume they’re probably lost.
    Keep well everyone!

    1. Welcome aboard, Bryntin! I found my way to your blog via Brian of Bonnywood.
      If our weather would warm up a little, I would be gardening too. As it is, I’ve repotted all my houseplants so at least I had a little time playing in the dirt.
      Good health to you!

  13. I suppose one of the advantages of being retired is the changes for us don’t seem as extreme as it does for some. We’re largely homebodies anyway. True, the volunteer gigs are on hiatus, as are visits to restaurants, but that didn’t take that much time out of the week.

    There is another casualty that will indirectly affect you. We’ve had to cancel an imminent Mexico trip that I figured would be good for about four months worth of blog posts. Ah, the sacrifices! 😉

    1. Ah heck, Mexico got cancelled? That’s a bummer. Though I have all faith in your ability to create a blog post or two out of a trip to your backyard. Get to it, man!

      As for being a homebody, here’s a truth: My introverted self sang with joy when I heard of ‘self-isolation’ and ‘social distancing’. Finally, my whole life is validated!

  14. You hit just the right note with this one, Sister. Never doubt your instincts when it comes to your posts, because they always work to your (and our) benefit. (Re-reading that last line, it sounds a bit off, but I’m leaving it in as I think you’ll get what I mean.) As for how I’m doing, well, I am minutes away from releasing a post (I always try to do so at midnight) that is a bit darker. It’s just a cleansing thing that I need to do.

    Love the Basket O’ Cats, by the way…

    1. Oooh, something darker… I’m intrigued! And nearly caught up with my emails too so I should be there soon… very soon…

      The Basket O’Cats — it’s not like they don’t ever fight, they do. And they can be quite the scamps. But then they curl up in these adorable little poses and then I just HAVE to take a picture. 🙂

  15. Hi Christi, Tasmania calling 😁 We are just starting second tier restrictions here, basically most everything but essential services are to close. Being a very small island state, with a large portion of business related to tourism so many folks are now unemployed. I am lucky that my job is able to be moved to working from home, and i expect that will happen next week. Its surreal, and hard to believe this is happening, but we just have to keep our balance and step one foot at a time forward. Wishing you all the best for you and yours, and may your hands always be clean. 😊

    1. Surreal is right! The stores and streets are so empty, the resemblance to Twilight Zone hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice. But as you said, we just have to keep our balance.
      Hope your island keeps its balance, too. 🙂

      1. We are trying mightily. We now have the toughest border control in the country. If you come here from tomorrow night – from anywhere, even if you are a Taswegian coming home – you will have to go into isolation in a government facility for a fortnight. Glad I never travel.

        1. Wow, that is strict! Our state just started “shelter in place” last night but it’s only for two weeks — at least, that’s what we’re being told. Fortunately, I’m a homebody by nature.

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