While the world pauses, waiting for what might unfold next, many of us find ourselves steeped in the familiar. Stranded in the places we’ve made our own — our castles, our keeps, our hovels, our homes.
It is here that we hope to slow the steady rate at which COVID-19 creeps across Earth’s surface, laying waste to what we’ve come to hold dear. (A tad dramatic? Yeah, probably. But, forgive me my prodding prose – dramatic times call for dramatic dialogue.)
One could draw some conclusions about viral spread, killing one’s host, and little regard for other life forms, but, this is truly not the time or place. And while I may seem irreverent in tone, please know, I have wrestled with fear. Fear for my loved ones, my family spread out across the states, and nearby. Fear for humanity – the people in places with little access to fresh drinking water, much less water to wash their hands with regularly. Fear for the animals, who are getting used to our absence, and may find it rather shocking when we return. Sadness for the death and suffering (physical, financial, emotional, and beyond) caused by COVID-19. Those things are all very real. And as someone who grew up with chronic bronchitis, I know all too well the feeling of one’s own chest constricting against the very air one struggles so hard to breathe. It is not an experience I’d wish on anyone – old, young, or anywhere in between. Especially, not alone. That concept terrifies me.
My heart truly goes out to those who have lost loved ones in the midst of this. Please – stay safe, stay healthy, and hold one another close (in heart, if not in hugs quite yet).
But I digress.
Here, in our homes, lie our treasures. Both physical and intangible.
The pieces of life that symbolize our story.
For those of us lucky enough to live with other humans (yes, it is a blessing — try to find a reason to appreciate them, if you’re struggling), they are part of these treasures.
For those of us without family at home, our pets, our plants, our instruments, notebooks, computers, and soul-soothing inanimate objects will become the small things that are now larger than ever.
You see, now is a time to embrace the small things. To cherish comfort, as we have it. To let gratitude fill our hearts as we learn new ways to appreciate what little pieces make our puzzle feel whole.
Earlier today, I spoke briefly with a friend on the topic of movies, which somehow lead to a brief interlude about crying in the Time of Corona. (Everything now, in my mind, echos the title Love in the Time of Cholera.) I made the joke that crying seems to be contagious, and he said he was dying laughing. At which point we both agreed there must be something wrong with us — none of this was funny, and quite serious instead.
But all at once it hit me – comedy and tragedy. They entwine to embody one of humanity’s most enduring truths. And combined, they are, in a way, one of our greatest coping mechanisms.
So, I find myself considering just how much of life is an exercise in blind faith, and the dichotomy between things that seem polarized. I’m clearly not the first person to ponder the paradoxical nature of existence, yet, every time I think I’ve got things figured out, life loves to remind me that balance is found in appreciation for both sides of the stick.
Snow and sunshine. (Today in Wisconsin it’s doing both.)
Darkness and understanding. Lost and found. Solitude and appreciation for community. Fear and hope.
Love is an act of dichotomy. Patience and passion. To care for oneself, while embracing and tending to the needs and dreams of another. It’s an act that breaks us and builds us up in turn. It sets us free and grounds us with roots that give us the strength to grow into each new branch of our ever-evolving story.
As we all collectively wrangle with the difference between survival and thriving (growing beyond our survival to understanding, contribution, kindness, compassion, and evolution) in this weird chapter of our history, I challenge you to feel appreciation for the small things in your life that you may take for granted. And, express it.
I’ve shown you a few of mine – the things here on the home front that give me strength, little reasons to smile, or pause in peace. (And spammed you with cat photos – you’re welcome.) Drop a comment below and share yours! I’d love to hear about them.
As always, thanks for stopping by, and, thanks especially for reading this rather non-photography related post. I appreciate those of you who stick around for the miscellaneous bursts of prose. 😉
Note: Today Governor Evers ordered the closing of Wisconsin’s state parks in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. This feels like the heaviest news yet.