Today the birds are even louder, or is it me, paying attention?
As we begin week 4 of our “remote” routine, I am noticing so many things.
I notice how I cannot be of service at a time when I would be the first to volunteer, to help, to offer. But instead, we listed ourselves in the building where we live -if anyone needs us to run errands for them- we would. Last night, we made cookies for our doormen who, are risking their lives for us. Even though I don’t think they should be coming to work. I notice how helpless I feel as I read about Elmhurst, Queens, and the conditions in the overwhelmed hospital there and where our city’s largest population of immigrants live, where the death toll is the highest in the city. But then I reminded myself that I believe in the power of love and that I say a prayer each day when I meditate, for all those who are on the front lines of this and those who are ill. I pray for those who will recover and those who will not. I pray for their families.
Yesterday I was finally lured outside. I avoided every block where I saw another person walking and traversed the avenues in a New York I hardly recognize- masks hiding faces, empty streets and closed stores. But there, in the void, were the flowers blooming- Tulips, Cherry Blossoms, Daffodils, everywhere I looked a reminder. Mother nature, rallying, thriving, reminding us, she is here with us and for us and without us.
It is here, without the distractions, the “things” with which I have busied myself, that I have come to learn. I have come with an open heart. I have come with apologies for my short temper, my vocabulary having sunken to its depths -as I am saying F---K in ways I didn’t know it could be used, how effective it can be, or with what frequency it can be used.
But then I remind myself, I am human, I am scared, I am vulnerable. But I am strong, and resilient and I am no stranger to the unknown and uncertainty. And maybe today, I will swear a little less. Just for today – I can start with that powerful statement.
Just for today, I have everything I need. I have my health, my family are all safe, my canine daughter Bailey is here, and curled up by side. We have food and we have each other.
So, my less than perfect self, with gratitude for all the good, rings a bell out the window every night at 7 pm – as we New Yorkers show our gratitude. And my less than perfect self has accepted that my nails will one day be polished again, my “roots” will be re-colored, my winter clothing, hanging unworn will not see the light of day- as I survey the boots and jackets that will soon be stored. And there are parts of me, now, that will go into storage too.
And new parts of me will emerge like those flowers, reminding me… we will not be “going back” we will be going forth.
My father is almost 90. He was born in 1930, a child of the depression, polio, smallpox, two wars, and multiple market crashes- and he endured the loss of a child. My sister died when she was 34. He and my mother went on. My mother has Alzheimer’s. He has stood by her and cared for almost single handedly since the day of her first signs of cognitive impairment. He has never complained. If you met him, you’d hear his sense of humor, his “this too shall pass” and his knowledge that we go through things- and if we emerge, we are changed, and we can still have a good life.
My father and I speak every day. He has told me stories I never knew- about when he was younger and some of his near-death experiences. He still does the grocery shopping and walks Maggie, their dog, and he is not afraid. He wants to live to be 100.
Like mother nature, we are still here, doing what we do naturally, each day another adventure – another opportunity.
And people stayed at home
And read books
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.