Hurtling towards the spring equinox I awoke to the sun in my eyes this morning. It’s been months since that’s happened. Yesterday I made an appointment for my second Covid vaccine. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Soon I will be able to resume somewhat of a normal life. Camping and river trips are starting to appear on the calendar.
As with everyone else – it’s been a rough go through this pandemic (and everything else). If I were going to give a speech at the “Covid Survival Awards” at the beginning (while holding my covid 19 virus trophy) I would have to thank my two, now 7-month-old tuxedo kittens, Zoey and Zander, and their baby mama, Zinnia (“Mama Z”) for unwittingly helping time to survive this time. Their endless antics and purrs have helped to keep laughter and smiles in my life. I’m sure many of you out there feel the same…
It was as unexpected as the pandemic- going gray I mean. I hadn’t planned on it. For 15 years I doused my hair with Clairol Natural Instincts # 4 dark brown. Just like not planning on going gray, I had not planned on ever coloring my hair in the first place. Then one day when I was 50 the lady at the pool counter asked if I wanted a senior pass.
I let my hair grow out, again unexpected, and unplanned. Closed salons meant getting a haircut was not possible. So after years of stylishly short hair, I now sport a mid-length gray mop.
I hardly recognize myself anymore but I barely recognize the world I live in of face masks, lockdowns, and a sobering death toll. I barely recognize this country after four years of political and social turmoil.
Gray is a color that is neither black nor white but something in between. It’s all gray now, a state of waiting, everything shrouded in a fog of uncertainty. When will I be vaccinated? When will this isolation end? When can I have my old life back?
In the matter of hair, gray signals more the end than the beginning. My graying head has become a personal symbol of my mortality but I’m not afraid of it. I’m going wild and just letting me be who I am without a care. Write, draw, scribble, sing loud- it’s all good.
When we can all talk about this era in the past tense and even laugh a little, I will remain gray. There’s no way I can go back. There’s no way we can go back. From inequity to racism too much has been exposed. There can be no more cover-ups.
She was the fourth in a line of feral or stray cats that had found their way to our property. First, they find shelter in the barn. Then, over a period of days or weeks, they grow bolder. Eventually, they wind up on the porch staring in the kitchen window, hoping for a meal. They stay for a while, just enough time for me to grow fond of them, and then disappear- their fate not to be known.
Zinnia was different. I could tell she was in the early stages of pregnancy looking for a safe anchor. Poor dear- a teen pregnancy, barely not a kitten herself. She was petite, with a sleek body that sported a shiny black coat. Her topaz eyes that glowed like the high beams on a car, visible from across the yard. This cat could model on a perfume commercial
Let’s just start over, look back to the resolve we had at the New Year and reframe those goals and hopes into the context of Covid 19. They may still apply- but if they don’t, convert them into something simpler, kinder, from lofty accomplishments to simply a better state of mind. My word I set for the year 2020 was “acceptance”, still so applicable but now I am thinking about it in different contexts than I originally intended
At first, I thought that was lowering the bar, but maybe for our culture by slowing down and taking time to reflect we have somehow raised the bar to what’s really important?
Being happy with what you’ve got
Taking good care of yourself and family
Reaching out to others in need
Unwinding ourselves to the forces beyond our control
Bringing light in these uncertain times is a plethora of poetry being shared. It’s amazing the power that poetry can have bringing our attention to the matters of humanity. The last of these is mine.
And the people stayed home.
And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently. And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”