Every column I’ve ever written lives on my hard drive.
(For those keeping track, this is number 596.)
As March was ending last year, I wrote, “the U.S. now has 7,668 cases with 117 deaths. The world count has risen to 212,799 with 8,787 people succumbing. It is recommended that those of us 65+ ‘self-isolate,’ a term utterly unknown but a few weeks past. Recommendations are that we limit crowds to fewer than ten. Pubs, restaurants, and eateries are shuttered. The markets are off approximately 35 percent from their highs, companies are failing, average people — like you and me — are without income. San Francisco is closed. Hospital ships are being sent to New York and the West Coast.”
The numbers are tragically quaint compared to where we now stand.
Last year at this time, we were barely scratching the surface of what the pandemic would entail. Streets were deserted; fear ran rampant; information was fluid. Grocery shopping was the most dangerous event of the week; we garbed up in masks and gloves and carried with us containers of disinfectants. We were told to bleach our food.
Like characters in a horror movie resurfacing from being entombed, it certainly feels like we are pushing aside the soil, scratching our way above ground after being covered for over a year. Surviving underground because it was unsafe to come up again, we looked to the heavens, waiting for a signal that we can reclaim the world we were missing.
Little by little, it is returning.
We are unburying ourselves, beginning again to glance to the skies, not yet really even sure we can emerge. Some will not. Others are. Eyes blinking from the light, wiping the dirt from our faces, we are starting to stand unbowed again, a little shaky, a bit unsteady, but mostly optimistic.
Some of us have received the vaccine, bringing with it peace of mind and hopefulness sorely lacking for the previous 13 months. It’s urgent to be reminded that there remains a long road yet to travel. Although I have been “double-vaxed” and am (mostly) outside the grip of the virus – being a good citizen – I will continue to wear face coverings and socially distance, respecting science as well as the personal requests from those I might meet. However, it cannot be stressed enough, similar to the first primitive amphibians to drag themselves out from the primordial oceans we are emerging from the muck.
This inchoate “new normal” will not be as it was but it indeed is forming, and as surely as the sun will rise and the winds will blow and the stars will shine; it is increasing speed as it advances. In the same manner one cannot actually watch a flower open but can recognize its beauty when it blooms, that time is blossoming even now.
I am beginning to re-experience joy in the small things; to simply be thankful for the breath that fills my lungs; to smile as I walk the street; to be so freakin’ appreciative that I survived, while mourning so many who did not.
With those others who are vaccinated, I look with anticipation to hugging again and again and again and again until my arms hurt and my face is sore from crying tears of happiness and reunion. Those I have only heard or seen through small zoom boxes on a computer monitor, I will embrace with recognition of how relieved I am to be together in person again. I will rejoice in the feeling of those I love pressed close to me, almost unwilling to release them. I will smother them with kisses and hold their heads against my own and tell them how much I missed them and how deep is my love for them. And then — you know what — I’ll do it all over again.
It is important to remember that although that time is closer now than it was before, we are still in a pandemic. Those days are not yet here. Anticipate them with joy and eagerness. Plan for them. But hang in there a little longer. Be responsible. Don’t stop now. We are too close.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker, motivator, and the founder of the Facebook group: Intentions • Affirmations • Manifestations. He leads zoom inspirational, practical workshops on the first and third Tuesday of each month at www.ThisTimeImeanIt.com/Tuesdays. Find out more via his mailing list at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com/signup