Wearily, I don my mask, my gloves for the weekly drive from my Minneapolis home to my suburban office to collect my mail. My footsteps echo in the empty hall. The calendar is still turned to March 2020 which means I have spent less than three months in this space that does not yet feel like my own. The March calendar photo of Little Paradise, New Zealand reminds me of my visit to an exquisite place which in all its beauty, rests on shifting tectonic plates. All that is now is in the distant past.
For the past few months, I notice things I've never seen before - much is beautiful, but it is also threatening. Withering branches prompt me to anticipate future decay. I walk each day wondering if this were my last time here, what would I want to remember. With eyes closed, can I conjure up the details of the scene in front of me. A month ago, I would have praised my growing mindfulness witnessing each detail of Spring unfold as an unforeseen gift. Now it feels fragile.
So many paradigms have shifted. There are earthquakes in nature, in my community, and within me. While virtually doing nothing, or virtually doing everything (since all my work is on-line), the ground on which I stand, the world in which I travel, and my own awareness has tremors. The aftershocks keep coming. Like so many of you, I am missing the closeness of my friends and family - the laughter of my kids. An inner alarm alerts me when too much time has passed since hugging my children. I want to fly in their direction. I have to ignore that alarm.
I miss the reassurance of compassionate, effective national leadership. We are in a "Hunger Games" saga competing for resources with one another while our President revels in the unrest he can stoke. The callousness of glossing over 125,536 deaths within several months while inviting more deaths in his drive to hear his voice amplified is inhumane.
Since George Floyd's death, I am awakening to how much I have participated in a history infected by racism since its inception. I am learning from African American authors and film directors the virulence of racism from slavery until this moment and recognize my own complicity.
It took a plague for me to recognize the fragility of my experience. As time slowed, I saw more clearly the manmade plague that has been rooted in the U.S. all my life. So yes, the shifts are monumental, and the ground has not yet settled and may not for many years. But I can see more clearly what's in front of me, even with eyes closed as long as my heart is open.