While the world seems to spin wildly out of control, nature keeps on doing its thing.
Sitting here looking through Saturday’s headlines for The Boston Globe (because it’s the first to hit my inbox), I’m seeing words that would have seemed incredible this time last year but now are just part of the “new normal.” A Guatemalan immigrant who worked 60-70-hour weeks in grocery stores succumbed to the virus. Deaths among racial minorities unmask systemic racism throughout our culture. Divorced couples with children don’t know how to deal with court-ordered visitation while still staying at home. Trust in the president’s virus response is failing. French police kick London jet-setters out of the Riviera. New, larger wave of locusts threatens millions in Africa. Baseball struggles to find some way to save its season.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting here at home watching tulips bloom and retreat. The closest I’ve come to a model was watching through the window and two of the teenage girls across the street took cellphone pictures of each other in last night’s setting sun. Had this happened BC (before caronavirus), I would have been out there offering mild advice (the shadows they were picking up were regrettable). But no, I had already been out too much by that point. Allergies fueling anxiety limits my external activity to floral observations.
Feelings of desperation began to set in this week. I sent out invoices marked “payment deferred” because I know no one has had any revenue incoming the past month. They’ll pay when they can if their businesses survive, but the absence in their revenue means absence in my revenue and as I watch my bank balance drop, knowing what automatic payments lie ahead, I worry.
I’m not alone. Millions of people now question the necessity of every purchase. Non-profits have watched their donations slide as much as 85% as even those whose income is largely unaffected still pull back, putting discretionary income toward things such as improving their home work space, adding additional streaming services to help keep kids occupied, and purchasing larger quantities of alcohol. I have fantastic pictures for sale, but oh, you’re framing the four-year-old’s colorful work from this afternoon’s craft time instead.
So here I am, yet again posting pictures of flowers because at least they’re reasonably reliable. They bloomed bright and wonderful as the temperatures soared into the low 80s early this week then retracted into a protective mode as frost warnings returned. There was a tornado this week just to our South and I slept through the entire storm. There have been tornadoes across the US almost every day this week. They make local news in the areas affected, but even there it comes below the fold, or after the commercial break at the seven minute mark.
Is there a metaphor to observe in the fact that as Christians adjusted ways to observe Good Friday, and Jews observe Passover, New York began burying virus victims in mass graves? As this posts on Easter Sunday, is there a chance that the resurrection we want doesn’t look anything at all like the resurrection we ultimately get? Politicians are not saviors. Billionaires and celebrities tweeting and streaming from their well-furnished mansions are not messiahs.
Morning breaks and cumulative directors of state health departments compile new lists, hoping that today’s isn’t as long as yesterdays, longing for the day when there’s no list to make at all, unsure if that day will ever come. Hospital administrators count bed availability. Doctors make difficult decisions as to who gets a ventilator. Parents struggle between feeding children and paying rent. Another person lying alone in a room with no one around take their last, hard-fought breath.
And still, the flowers bloom.