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. [Read more…]