May 2020 to March 2021- Some Thoughts in the Time of Covid-19

I wrote this in May of 2020 at the beginning of what has turned out to be almost 12 months of dealing with the pandemic caused by Covid-19. At the time we were in strict lock-downs in California. I didn’t publish it and just reread it in my draft post folder. I’m not sure why I didn’t publish it. Maybe because we were all dealing with way too much at the time, and it’s not in keeping with the usual style of my blog. But reading it now I realize that I still have many of the same thoughts, feelings and hope for the future. Now that the vaccine roll out has started I pray that we remember some of the lessons learned over the past year.

May 2020…

“Times of scarcity need to be met with generosity, times of fear with comfort, times of uncertainty with presence. When we care for those around us, we create a field of love.”

Thomas Hubl.

Hello out there. How are you doing? We are now in the 7th week of California’s shelter-in-place and social distancing requirements. I am feeling, as I am sure you are as well, a little stir crazy. I miss my friends and our easy social gatherings. I miss the company and passion of my fellow gardeners. The remainder of our current County Master Gardener class, of which I am one of the hosts, is on Zoom. It’s not the same. I miss volunteering at the Botanical Gardens. I miss my bookclubs. I miss cooking for friends and our impromptu dinners. I know it has been even more difficult for many of you who are trying to balance work, children, home schooling, meals, and some space for yourself.

Maybe you are not missing commuting, or traffic, or the hectic round of activities that fill your days and those of your children. I hope you are finding new passions and avenues to express yourself.

What do you think back to normal will look like? What are you going to do when things open up a little? I am not sure I will return to a ‘normal’ (meaning the way things were) way of life before a vaccine is available. I won’t feel comfortable going to movies or restaurants or large gatherings. Here in Fort Bragg our ‘normal’ summer events have all been cancelled. There will be no film festival or music festival this year, the theater company cancelled the rest of the season, I doubt we will hold the regular 4th of July celebration… it goes on and on. A disaster for a small coastal town that depends on tourism.

When this is all over, the world and my community will not look the same. Maybe we should spend some time considering what we want to keep and what we should drop. It’s time for a reset.

Here are some things I hope will be part of the new normal.

The new normal may contain a greater sense of community. See this happy tear jerking article about a wedding in Washington Square. If that type of thing continues, our lives will be enriched. None of us stand alone.

Maybe the new normal will have a different attitude towards health care. Would you want the person standing next to you in the grocery store, or the wait person serving you at a restaurant to be without healthcare because they couldn’t afford it? Would you want them to be out and about because they had to be, even though they might be sick? Because they couldn’t afford to see a Dr. or they couldn’t afford to get a flu shot? This is only the first global pandemic, there very well could be more.

While I am on healthcare, maybe medical school could be less expensive. We don’t have enough internists or GPs because students need the extra income from specialties to repay loans. Maybe tuition could be forgiven if a Dr. will spend time in a small rural hospital. Rural communities have problems recruiting physicians because they can’t pay enough to cover their medical school costs. These folks are our heroes. They shouldn’t spend a good part of their lives in debt.

Maybe the new normal will bring a new appreciation for our teachers. Those of you home schooling right now are realizing how difficult a job it is.

Maybe the new normal will mean universal affordable access to broadband and the internet. This is a subject I feel strongly about, I even wrote a letter to the NY Times, a personal first. The major cable companies have ignored rural or low income communities and our government has done nothing to help; it’s criminal. If you don’t have internet because it isn’t available in your area, or the internet speed is inadequate, or it’s too expensive for your income, you are out of luck. The kids can’t access school, you can’t work remotely, Zoom conferences aren’t possible, no streaming Netflix, and forget about having virtual cocktail parties with friends. Even reading the news is difficult because many newspapers don’t deliver anymore, and you can’t read them on line. Which means you aren’t educated and you can’t be part of your larger community or the world.

My new normal will contain a large dose of gratitude and appreciation. Gratitude that we are still here and appreciation for many things we took for granted.

What about you?



8 thoughts on “May 2020 to March 2021- Some Thoughts in the Time of Covid-19

  1. Great post. It’s certainly been quite a year. And boy do we miss traveling. Fingers crossed that the two next trips don’t get canceled. I’m sick about all of the small businesses, the people struck down by covid, just everything. As you are. It’s good to look forward and upward.

    • Thank you. We miss traveling as well. We are scheduled to visit New Zealand for a hiking trip starting Nov. 1. Fingers crossed that they will let us in. Scandinavia has been rescheduled now to 2022. Who knows what will happen to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, something we have been doing every year since 1985. That’s usually in the fall and was, of course, cancelled in 2020. So many things… I hope you get to make your own trips this year. Where are you going?

  2. My sister, who is a lawyer, is working for the government helping small business get loans to survive. I won’t go into the details of the struggles with so many…
    I lost another sister to cancer (I was primary caregiver) in May so it has been a tough year on top of everything else. I feel very fortunate to have received both doses of the vaccine and hope everyone will be vaccinated soon and have more protection from this deadly virus. My best to you Liz…

    • I am so sorry about the loss of your sister, my favorite cousin died last year from Covid. I’m on the board of the non-profit botanical gardens and they had a heck of a problem with last year’s loans. The big banks gave all their money to the folks with large accounts and they had to find another application source at the very last minute.

      I have had the first vaccination, second will be in mid-March. I feel fortunate as well. Thank you.

  3. Thank you for posting this- it’s both a time capsule and a reminder that we are still connected, that we must do better, and that gratitude is always needed and welcome.
    I miss traveling for pleasure, miss seeing friends, miss dinners together, miss my family (outside of the ones I live with- they’re driving me mad) 😉
    I hope to come to CA and see you sometime in the not toooooo distant future. In the meantime, I am reading your blog and cooking with you in my head. So happy you’re getting the second dose- it will be a big sigh of relief with that is checked off. Be well- thanks for your writing and pictures and food.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting Jane. I am never sure who is ‘listening’ when I put things out to the ozone layer. I hope to see you in CA soon as well, I miss all my friends and adopted family members (of which you are certainly one). I have a fear that we will all get too used to being hermits.

  4. The “new normal” is still one of isolation here but since we just got our first dose, hope that changes in the next couple of months. I cannot wait to see family and friends. I know I will also be a little more “seize the moment.”

    • Our restaurants are still closed for indoor dining, gyms are closed, no large gatherings, and maskings/social distancing is enforced. But, vaccinations are rolling out. I’ve had the first. The signs are hopeful. Yes, I don’t think we will take things for granted in quite the same way. Be well and thank you for commenting and visiting.

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