We don’t know if the virus is slowly killing us or if we’re gaining traction subduing it.
Some of us are doing the prudent thing: laying low. The less prudent are engaged in a sort of Russian roulette with a lethally unknowable adversary. The President is taking a potentially dangerous medication; perhaps he will manage to off himself through sheer stupidity.
In the absence of sane national leadership, it’s tricky to know what to think.
Resilience has it limits. The Earth is demonstrating hers – the virus demonstrating ours.
Entrenched food supply lines are being compromised. People get crazy when they’re hungry. For those of us who live in cities where unequal access to resources has long divided people, the possibility of riots rears its head.
The poorest bear – early and often – the blunt force of a crisis. Anger and desperation make ravenous bedfellows in times of societal deterioration. Our worst impulses rise up.
We’ve been such colossally wretched stewards of our planet, redemption may take a while. The time required to adopt intelligent ways to inhabit the earth may shove us a lot closer to extinction than anyone could imagine. There’s a sinister impatience in that calculation.
These thoughts do not feel like maudlin speculation, but rather a necessary investigation of trigger events for self-preservation strategies.
I live my days feeling unstuck in time, not a bad outcome for one who’s lived life on schedule.
I work at home, have done so as often as possible in my careers because I cannot tolerate, temperamentally or ecologically, commuting.
I’ve managed to get comfortable with virtual meetings.
Finally, we all get to see ourselves as others do – that’s the new part. Informative and sobering.
All of my plants are blooming spectacularly this year. All my neighbor’s plants are blooming spectacularly. The Lake Merritt Gardens are awash in brilliant flowers, Monarch butterflies, inquisitive squirrels, and singing birds.
Is this fecund outburst the result of less vehicle pollution, or ‘good enough’ rains in the land of an expanding megadrought, or generous sunlight in an untroubled sky? A consolation prize for all the darkness of COVID? A small indicator of benefits if we as a species revise our reckless ways with Her ecosystems?
We weren’t prepared for any of this. Not in any meaningful ways. We’re left to consider worst case scenarios, while inveterately hoping for good outcomes. Caution and the clarity of preparedness might have saved us falling this far. We consider a new kind of future, agitated but not despairing.