And so here we are, up to our eyeballs and ear canals in a virus pandemic. And here I am, currently at 8700 feet above sea level in the mountains of Colorado. During the fulfillment of my duties, I spent hours today driving. I covered a myriad of terrain, weather and sights. I have been here nearly two weeks. I can compare the health situation with the changes outside. I see and learn something new every day.
I drove three workers back to our sister location. During the summer, this would be a couple hour drive through Rock Mountain National Park. Right now, that road ends amidst several feet of snow. In order to get to the destination during this time of year, one must basically drive a horseshoe pattern, dipping south, then across, then back north, only to repeat for the journey back “home”. Not quite double the time, but it sure adds to the journey.
I am in my second week as a volunteer driver for this lodge. This lodge that is now shutting down, operations coming to a stand still, workers being asked to leave, volunteers exiting by the scads. I requested to stay as long as I can or as long as they will have me. I have a back-up plan and options, but staying here suits me best. Given the emergent needs, I am happy to pitch in and do my part.
In a parallel way, the seasons are starting to change, too. I can already see the differences in the landscape around me. There were several more feet of snow when I got here and way fewer degrees on the thermometer. The activities were in full swing and folks were all over this campus. Now, the snow is melting, the mud season in upon us, and the people are fewer and fewer. It is quieter by the day.
Buttressed against these changes are the changes that are unfolding world wide in response to this new virus informally called the “Corona Virus”, but more formally known as COVID-19. Every day there are changes in travel, responses, illness reports, data and tracking. Business are closing and folks are sheltering in place, while others are giving the finger to the world and staying open or continuing to explore outside. Countries are responding differently and the news and reports shift, sometimes every few hours. We are truly a world in flux.
While I was driving today and noticing the changes just since I have been here, I realized that part of the panic has to do with change. I can walk around my location, or drive through the mountains, and relish in the strength and power of Mother Nature. The seasons are changing, the temperatures are changing, and the outside world responds. The animals are going about their business in response to a cycle they know so well. This is their life and this is their cycle. This is what they know.
Similarly, and in response to the current health urgency, our world is changing by the day, sometimes by the hour. People, cities and countries are modifying how or if they do business, when and where or if people can congregate. Policy and practice are in flux and so are the emotions of millions and millions of humans. Humans are not just taking this in stride. Their stress and anxiety are evident. Perhaps they don’t do well with change, perhaps they do not have the resources to stay home, perhaps their jobs have ended or, like me, they must relocate. Perhaps they have no resources at all. Perhaps the social media havoc is just a little bit too overwhelming and reason has flown out the window. Change is coming quickly and without warming, and so seems to be fear and anxiety.
So, the cycle of illness and disease marches on. COVID-19 will be part of the fold of the illnesses and diseases we deal with each and every day. Outside, winter will turn to spring and snow will melt and rains will fall. Mother Nature will continue with the business of nature, and people will soon get back to their business of living. Inside, I encourage us all to sit back, relax, take it in stride. Support yourself and each other. Take what you need and be creative with what you have. Be mindful of your fear and your feelings of vulnerability. Nobody I have talked to is afraid of the virus. Nope, not my crew. Folks in my circle are more concerned for their ability to pay their bills, educate their kids, feed their families and have a safe place to lay their heads.
Let’s be mindful when fear takes over. Let’s use this time to be with each other in whatever way is best or permitted. Let’s not get all crazy or panicked. Let’s take no more than we need and let’s give what we can. Breathe. Keep a perspective. Steady on.
Get outside if you can, support your friends and neighbors if you are able. Be the calm in this storm. Love yourself and each other.
Cheers to peace and health!