Phillip and I have both learned a lot about dog training over the years, through raising our own pups and fostering many others, but we’ve never mastered the trick of helping our dogs adjust to Daylight Savings Time. We barely adjust to this annual folly ourselves. Trying to edge sleeptime forward by just a few minutes and then more hasn’t worked worth a tinker’s damn in the almost-30 years we’ve been walking dogs morning and night. They know when it’s time for walks and bed and meals, and if these times don’t match our schedule and the clock for half of the year, too bad for Mom and Dad.
Being retired and in lockdown, it really doesn’t matter when we do what, but it’s always tricky adjusting to rising in the dark for our first walk and taking the day’s final stroll in shadow as well. If the full moon blesses us with brightness, our walks can be magical, but the new moon is perilous. We’ve learned that slowly is the wisest way to proceed and it’s a pace that suits the pups’ desire for maximum sniff time.
And, even in the dark, I can perceive the analogy between our darkened dog-walks and the gloomy path we’ve all been traveling for almost a year. Many of us have been cautious and willing to sacrifice speed for the safer progress made by taking our time as we step forward through our days, but sadly, not enough of us. And so, the company of more than 250,000 of our family and friends will be absent from our future gatherings and tables. This is heartbreak at a level our country and our world have rarely suffered. And the tragedy compiles when we consider that much of these losses could have been prevented.
I don’t understand people who have chosen to repeatedly enter the world and mingle with others unmasked and without respecting distances, when we’ve been told for more than 9 months to do these things, along with washing our hands and staying strictly within a “bubble” of family members following the same safety procedures. These practices ensure greater safety for those who must go out into the world to help the rest of us survive.
Don’t share air in closed or close spaces with people we haven’t been confined with all these months: It’s not that hard, but it seems impossible for many; and so, we find ourselves at a crisis point of infection and dying as we enter the holiday weeks.
I read that 40% of our population plans to gather with family and friends over Thanksgiving weekend, offering no consideration whatsoever to healthcare workers who are grotesquely overworked and excessively stressed in hospitals with no beds available to patients. And many of these patients are people who couldn’t be bothered to take a deadly disease seriously and now ask for our prayers, still without regard for those trying to keep them alive, who certainly deserve our prayers as well. This rampant rush through the dark to the arms of a deadly virus is without regard for our teachers, postal workers, EMT’s, grocery and other essential store staff, etc. And of course we will pray for these patients; we have been praying for them all along, praying they would avoid these choices, and now praying they survive them without harming others.
I don’t understand people who are so driven by fear and anger that it occludes their power to love beyond a small, known circle, if that. Truly, I’ve given long hours to opening my heart and trying to understand their denial, but I don’t, in the utterly real face of such virulence and death.
I have appreciated the frequent news program appearances by Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D., a Professor and the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. His fact-based wisdom and advice center me and give me information I need to hear. He’s often quite blunt, sticking to sharing the pertinent science and data, but this morning he shared how he aches to be with his grandchildren; he’d love more than anything to gather with his family next week, but, “I love them more than that ache; we’ll gather virtually this year so we can all be together and well next year.”
And it struck me again that this is the way we walk through the dark together: loving more than we ache, loving ourselves through and beyond the aches and losses of this hard, hard time to the peaceful days and celebrations yet to come. We can do this, and must. We’re all suffering together; let’s not choose actions that make us–and others–suffer more.
Ram Dass said, “We’re all just walking each other home.” This stretch of the walk is dark; let’s navigate it with love and travel safely to the brighter days ahead. We’re nearly there.
In other news: our Full Moon Cottage Family is joyful, joyful, as we learned after an excruciating week of waiting for lab results, that Malarky’s tumor is benign. We’ve decided to postpone surgery and see if it might heal on its own, and are so very grateful for the prayers and happy energy that have been shared. Thank you. Thanksgiving will be very merry this year.
My friends, the lovely people and gifted artists who form The Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet, are nearing the end of their Kickstarter campaign to fund the final production of their 7th album, Social Distancing. I didn’t know this about Kickstarter before, but if the end date is reached and the goal isn’t met, the funds already pledged are all returned to the donors, and the artists, or whomever, receive nothing, so if anyone out there can help out with a few dollars here and there, they may just make it. I don’t want my money back; I want their music to be heard. 🙂
And, finally, our beautiful book is moving out into the world, and I hope it’s blessing those who hold and read her words. I just learned that, in the next few weeks, the Australian, New Zealand, and German editions will be offered for sale!
Gentle peace; be well and safe.