We know that we are all in this together, but has our isolation also sheltered us from our simple truths? The feeling in the air is that of waiting … for what? Maybe it’s more like a feeling of trying hard to carry on while you slowly realize that you are being stalked by a predator that you cannot see but who is most assuredly in the surrounding woods. A predator who may take you, your loved ones, your job, or at least your false sense of security.
You can see the effects of the arrival of this beast all around you and in the fear and suspicion in your neighbor’s eyes. But the beast itself is invisible … there … lurking.
Having spent a lot of time in my younger years in the woods, there is an undeniable feeling in the air when you realize that, while surrounded by beauty and nature, you are not safe.
I have felt this in the middle of the night camping on the side of a foothill as the fire crackles and the light flickers but brings no sense of ease. No respite from the dark that surrounds and shrouds the unseen but all too instinctively known danger.
I have felt it too as my family and I slowly walked through a dense, treetop covered and very silent thicket of woods. This time, the stalker was not animal at all … something worse … or at least likewise unseeable.
The news drones on. Wash your hands! The beast is all about and may come to you and yours silently but undeniably because of the slightest slip of your hygiene. Sing the deadpan hopeless birthday song in your head twice while you scrub the invisible stalker away and down the drain.
Social distance! We are all suspects and we are all potential victims. If you love me, leave me alone. Sure talk to me, have virtual meetings with me where we may find some solace that we are still here, but the unspoken topic is the unseen killer of today’s simple joys.
Don’t speak of the future too much! It’s just too painful to bear. The new normal has become the chatter at the virtual water cooler.
I think the new normal is that of the old, nothing new about it. We have just realized that despite all the years of “progress” we are all living on the edge of destruction at all times and we are all, regardless of income, race, or social standing, fully dependent upon one another and the earth herself.
In times like these and of old, we have our families. Cherish them now as we used to do more easily. Even though, we may not all be blood, we are all family. Take care, let the divisions subside, and recognize that we all want the same things and have the same needs. We have what we have always had – self-determination, grit, a pinch of hope, our skills, a bit of luck, and each other.
This is not new. My grandparents bought bonds and tended their victory gardens, while the “boys were giving them hell” during WWII.
For us, for now, the hardest thing in the world to do … is nothing at all. We are to wait, help where we can, and never again forget the truth of this moment. We are all in this experiment of life together and interconnected. This beast may die but more will come after.
We must return to this humble and simple truth. We are one.