Sorry – I know people are overdosing on corona virus coverage. Alas, this post also takes a cue from the virus. But less as a negative and more as something that could have a lasting positive impact on my life. And no – this post is not based on any scientific evidence. It’s just based on my experience and good old common sense.
In my early morning walks, I have started to notice many things that never came to my attention before. When I go out each morning, it is a very peaceful, time. I usually go out right around 6:30 when it is starting to become light and Arlington is just beginning to wake up. But once I get out to the street, there is some activity going on because I live right across from Whole Foods, and the Amazon HQ site.
I can see that the Whole Foods lights are on, and employees are inside getting the store set up for the senior shopping hour. That gives me comfort that there are people out there putting in place precautions that will help to protect the most vulnerable and give them the resources they need to make it through each day they are forced to stay at home. I say a silent thanks for those who are helping to keep life going for those who have compromised immunity and/or are elderly.
I also see construction workers gathering on the sidewalk and street in front of the Amazon HQ site. The corona virus has not stopped progress on the biggest business opportunity to descend upon Arlington in years. It is interesting to be out there every morning and see how the work is coming along. Before the virus, I was just driving by quickly and trying to dodge construction activity. Now I embrace it as a sign of a distant but real hope.
The few of us that are out walking or running are painfully aware of social distancing. We probably look like drunks coming in from a night on the town (except the bars are closed) because we immediately weave erratically across the street, sidewalk or lawn so that we will be not only 6 feet but 60 feet from each other.
On occasion you will get closer – it happens. I was walking on a sidewalk and reached the front of a building and an intersection with another sidewalk. The building prevented me from seeing a jogger until she was almost upon me. I came to an abrupt stop and she realized I was there and said “I’m Sorry” in a very hesitant way. It’s not because she wasn’t sorry – she was as shocked as I was. It’s just that I think we have been so programmed to be distant that we’re not even sure it is acceptable to speak, even if to say something polite like “excuse me” or I’m sorry.”
Now that some of the experts are telling us that not just coughing or sneezing could spread virus droplets, but even the act of speaking as well. So a simple I’m sorry now seems more harmful than good. So you smile and nod and hope that gets the point across. If we are told to start wearing makeshift masks when we are outside our homes, then I guess we will have to adapt – maybe a wave to let people know that you acknowledge them and are sorry? But we will adapt our lifestyles to what is safe and healthy, and this will be a sign of respect for those we meet – a respect that hopefully will travel back to normal life with us when we are through this challenging time.
The calmness invites you to see things that you might not have noticed if you were out and about in the normal hustle and bustle of the world. I’m not sure I would have noticed as many flowers blooming, or the fact that there are so many United States flags decorating many houses in the neighborhoods that I walk through. Because there are few cars and trucks driving through the streets, it is also very quiet, and you can clearly hear woodpeckers and other birds cheerfully greeting another day. These are all soothing noises that fit into a calm environment and assure you that at some point, balance will be restored to the earth.
On the weekend, I was in a residential neighborhood with beautiful houses that I never really explored before. I looked up and I thought I saw a dog. But then I realized there was no owner holding a leash. What I actually was looking at was a beautiful red fox. I guess that because the world has started to power down, perhaps these animals feel more secure wondering around during what usually would be a bustling rush hour filled with humans. I looked at the fox from a distance, really taking in the beauty of the animal but giving us both space to linger and enjoy our environment. Eventually he walked down an adjacent street and I continued on my way, feeling somehow reassured to have seen something so unexpected and natural.
I eventually came to a small neighborhood playground. The signs posted on the fence reflected a new casualty of the virus. The parks, playgrounds, soccer fields and other outdoor sporting/recreational areas have been shutdown. Someone had posted a handwritten sign that said: “This is unconstitutional.” I think the fact that we have to shut down parks and outdoor recreation areas is sad and shows how deadly this virus has become. But I’m not sure I understand which provision the closure violates. While we value liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this country, the third amigo of that trinity is life. We have seen that where we allow people to gather together, the virus spreads and the right to life is jeopardized. The closures have been imposed to protect that right to the extent possible.
As I was walking one morning in the quiet, it dawned on me that something was missing that had recently become a very real facet of urban life. The scooters! I saw one or two scooters sitting on a lawn or sidewalk during my walks. But in the past I would usually be tripping over assorted parked scooters on every block, or I would be dodging scooter riders. Where had they gone?
A March 28, 2020 Bloomberg article appearing on the Seattle Times website said:
The article indicated that in the months before, the scooter industry had become very turbulent saying: “Many investors, already skeptical about the viability of the e-scooter business, say the current situation could be the nail in the coffin for an industry beset by financial, safety and regulatory woes.” So I guess it is possible that the scooter industry may fall victim to the pandemic.
There are four churches on my recent walking route and they are an assortment of denominations. But today, I stopped in front of the Methodist church to take a long look at the stained glass window. I have walked by the church a number of times but never really noticed the stained glass window until this week.
It is composed of four themes, all pertaining to Holy Week. The first shows Christ’s triumphant entry into Palm Sunday. The second is from Maundy Thursday and is a representation of Christ with the Disciples on Palm Sunday. The third shows a depiction of the crucifixion of Christ at Golgotha. The last intrigued me when I first saw it because it seemed to just be of two Roman soldiers napping. That part of the painting was vibrant and almost made me miss the much more drab, uncolorful remainder of the panel: there was the entrance to a tomb, the empty bandages that had once wrapped the body of Christ, and a very serene, regal Christ ascending over the tomb.
As I stared at the panel, a calming influence came over me. Lest we forget, Holy week starts on Sunday. At our Bible study the other night, the question was raised about the impact of the corona virus on Palm Sunday. Is it appropriate to celebrate this year?
In my mind, his is Lent and it's part of what comes next. But if there is a concern that we should not observe this day because of the virus, I think about what the whole season of Lent is all about. And it mirrors some of what we are experiencing now. We were living daily lives and going about our business and being successful. Then all of a sudden the tide turns (or in Christ's case the crowd turns) and their is an event that leads to death. But then there is a resurrection which provides hope to all of us Christians. So if there is ever a time for Palm Sunday and what comes after, I think it's now. As another member said, if we were getting this virus at Christmas, would we not celebrate Christmas. I guess we just need to have faith that we will get through this, or if we should be one of the ones who is the victim of the virus, well ultimately we prevail as well if we believe.
So I have concluded that good things that might come out of this period of fear is the ability to be more observant and thankful of the people and the beauty that exists even today around us. But most important, I am learning to become more observant and trusting of the faith that will get me through this.
Melanie discovered that she had heart failure in 2013. She spent the next 7 years learning how to live with the condition, and how to achieve balance and personal growth. Then in October 2020, she received a heart transplant. This blog is about her journey of the heart.