I think there’s a saying that hope blooms eternal in spring… or words to that effect. But as summer approaches and masks can cautiously be removed, perhaps we can come up with another one more suitable after surviving a year and a half lock-downed under COVID.
As an aside, I had my (semi) annual checkup this morning and remarked to my doctor that I seemed to have been spared my annual spring cold/flu these last two years. She confirmed that as a doctor she also noticed fewer calls from patients about colds or cases of flu and the fact that people kept isolated and wore masks was crucial in cutting down on these common ailments.
I agreed, said I’d be happy to continue wearing masks if it kept me from getting colds. She lamented our “I’m free to do what I want” culture, and compared it with Japan where masks and gloves are die rigueur in large cities even when there is no COVID.
But it’s getting safer all the time as more and more people become vaccinated and act responsibly. We can now spend time outside and expand our bubbles, visiting family and friends as the circumstances permit. And we can also start doing things for ourselves and others, reinforcing the social contract we all have in a fully functioning society.
Part of that is strengthening our inner selves which, for most of us, was shelved for eighteen months as we just tried to survive. Now it’s time for a treat or two as we march together back to normalcy.
Here’s one for starters that I know I’ve missed – appreciating what we have all around us.
I was out walking the dog after supper and looked up at the evening sky which was painted with swaths of pinks and greys. There were dark clusters of clouds pasted up there with clusters of white cotton trimmed in gold. Wow, I mean, it was pretty. But now that I’m writing this, it occurs to me that all the skies that we may gaze at are pretty – sometimes they’re “picture book” pretty, no brainers, but the fact we can see them, or feel them if we are challenged visually, is in and of itself a wonder.
We just have to slow down and look, take a deep breath, and take in what we have in just that moment. A breath in and out, another breath in and out, and gosh – ain’t it great to be me, here now. That’s all that counts in the quiet space we can create just for ourselves. Yeah, and all my problems and the world’s problems, which may even be greater than mine, can just fuck off and wait for some other time. At this moment, I’m chilling!
More on other things another time. While I’m chilling let me share something fun. (Some of you may recall the Reader’s Digest feature: Laughter is the Best Medicine.)
A couple of days back when it was hot, I was out walking my dog. A half-block away there’s a dog-service run out of a single-family house. The proprietor has a sign-up on the lawn. And because of the heat, there was a big bowl of water next to the sidewalk. But this year, in addition, there was also a small fire hydrant and a little painted dog maybe 6 inches high, lifting his leg in the direction of the hydrant. We have a beagle and beagles are curious and love to sniff everything. She’s old, getting deaf (or at least she’s learned to ignore most of our scolds) and her cataracts are clouding her sight.
But a dog is a dog – concrete, plaster, or whatever, and a hydrant is a hydrant. So she pulls me over to check things out, sniffing the dog’s nose, the hydrant, and then back under the rear – why not? You never can tell. Well, I confess, I had a good laugh standing there and didn’t care who was looking.
Bottom line. Get out there, look, and permit yourselves to laugh. It’s been tough and you deserve it. Then share the joke with others; be inclusive.
The good days are coming in!
Ken was a Professor of Mathematics, a ceramicist, a welder, and an IBMer until downsized in 2000. He taught yoga until COVID-19 decided otherwise. He continues writing, living with his wife and beagle in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He enjoys chamber music and mysteries. He’s a homebrewer and runs whitewater rivers. Ken is a writer and his literary works can be found at https://www.kmkbooks.com/
He welcomes feedback on his articles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.