This morning, our dreamtime abruptly ended not exactly in prayer, but certainly in proclaiming with the fervor of penitents seeing the light. A fierce lightning bolt and accompanying thunder, simultaneous with the beeping alarm warning us our electricity had vanished, sent us all flying from beds and kennels, each of us contributing our own distinct shrieking, caterwauling, and barking to the sudden surprising symphony. Total darkness, 4:25 A.M.
Peeling ourselves from the ceiling, we used our phones’ lights to tackle our morning jobs: getting five dogs leashed and out for relief, three cats fed, coffee made (hooray for gas stove and matches), candles lit, and…well, that was it. We sat in the candlelight and waited for the arrival of daylight, the abatement of wind and lightning, and the restoration of electric power to allow for reconnection to our electronics, weak and unreliable as they are to begin with in America’s rural areas.
We turned to our battery-powered radio. The un-new news on NPR reminded us we were right where we’d been for almost five months: at home, in isolation, watching our country daily devolve under the madness of Donald Destructo, he of the malevolent ineptitude, and a virus abetted in its rampancy by the determined ignorance of enough of us to ensure it will continue unhindered by data, facts, science, and common sense. Today, our own state moved to “red/spike” on the national maps.
This is us. This is many of us, now. Waiting so eagerly for November 3rd that the sensation of being squeezed and restrained surrounds every organ and nerve. Taut and tense and beyond ready to end the nightmare, hoping we can, and beating back any creeping doubt that it’s too late. Still room to wait, just a bit longer.
But there is also this: days blessed with each other’s company; gardens overflowing with beauty and abundance, laughter, joy, peace, and relative safety. And grateful for every second, well aware of the transitory fragility of life. There is happiness, too, in our waiting room.
Our dearest friend visited last weekend. She came up the steps to the back deck wearing her mask and gloves and carrying her cooler to her designated chair placed over 6 ft. from ours, and we sat and chatted like old times and the old friends we are, but at twice the volume, celebrating her birthday and catching up on our stories. Pure gift, and the only snag and sadness was that we could not hug, but oh, the joy of sharing space and time, however rigidly and by necessity strictly-defined. Our friend ended her stellar and long teaching career on Zoom, and is adjusting to retirement without the personal denouement granted by a retirement party or the chance to embrace students and scan one’s classroom and school with a last lingering look to prompt the physical shift to a new stage of life. She’s making tentative plans, but waiting to see how they might take shape.
All of our stories are strangely diverted, our expectations wavering between hope and despair, grown immense in the gestation of this waiting time.
Altered states. Transitions. Interruptions. Pauses. Adjustments. And, for most of us, hope that we’ll survive this time of pandemic (both literal and figurative), with our love and creativity intact, ready to rejoin our communities, eager to reconnect and innovate the ways we live and move upon the Earth. Until then, we wait in the dark, candles lit, awaiting our chance to empower change.
And, while we wait, hopeful and listening: here is a wonder I’m so pleased to share with you, composed by Dr. Gerald Gurss, and performed by members of the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, where he works as the Artistic Director. Also, a huge thank you to Kevin Stocks, Executive Director of the TCGMC. 🙂
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