Remember when we used to hug …

Back ‘Before Cornonavirus’ aka BC, I stood in rooms filled with people and listened to music. I sat in auditoriums and absorbed messages from authors. I sat elbow to elbow with friends, colleagues and strangers. I whooped and yelled at volleyball games. I danced and celebrated at weddings. I squished myself on airplanes and never thought twice about it. I wandered aimlessly at libraries. That was all so ‘yesterday.’

In my dream last night, I was in a room bursting with people and my neighbor (from 1973) walked across the room to greet me. His arms went up to hug me and I stopped him in shock, admonishing him about our social distance rules and regulations. I looked around the full room and realized it was too late now, the way everyone was all tight together like salmon wiggling and giggling upstream.

I took a step back from him and remembered I was dreaming and I could do anything I wanted. I rewound the dream and this time when I spotted him in the dream, I let him hug me and I held him and just breathed him in. And I hugged him back. This childhood friend of mine just gave me the first hug I’ve had in a very long time and I just breathed it all in.

I didn’t realize this post would be about loneliness but that’s what’s coming to the surface as I write. Even with all the gratitude I feel for my life, the enforced separation due to the coronavirus means there’s no hugs. No physical connection. No massages. No touch. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until he reached out from 1973 to me in 2020. It was like a scene from Quantum Leap.

I’m not complaining. I have a house, I have food, I have a yard, I have space. I know of so many others living on top of each other, with no outlet when tempers flare. I know the family courts are dealing with custody issues, restraints, domestic violence and I take a deep breath in and exhale gratitude.

I know how lucky I am and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but boy oh boy I sure miss those sweet things I took for granted, don’t you?

Now, all I ever want to do is to connect. I make calls. I send cards. I use the internet to Face Time, Zoom, Skye and FB video chat. And with all that connection, the physical touch is still so elusive…

How about you? Are you in contact with those long lost friends and relatives?

Green river in Chicago to celebrate St Pattys Day
Standing shoulder to shoulder on St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

 

 

Nature is smiling

Nature is taking a break while humans are running for cover.

In the west, over the past three decades the pine trees have been devoured by pine beetles. The forest is filled with dead trees that change the color of the canvas from deep green to dead maroon. A lightning strike, a tossed cigarette, a careless spark will set millions of acres ablaze. Our forests have been dying.

horsetooth reservoir, fort collins

Twenty miles down the highway from me the county imposed a plant quarantine to contain the ash borer beetle. Now, six years later, the quarantine of transporting wood (think about the times we’ve loaded firewood from our backyard to our mountain camping spot…) has been lifted as the beetle has spread to other counties. Authorities knew from past experience that it could not be stopped, only contained. Sort of like the coronavirus.

For the time being, we’ve turned our attention away from nature and are staying inside, keeping our distance from man and beast. Well, maybe not from beasts but certainly from others.

While we (humans) are taking a break from all things social (work, school, entertainment, restaurants, fitness centers, travel, shopping, concerts, theaters, sports and gatherings of any kind)  – nature is blossoming.

The air is cleaner, waterways are clearer, fish are multiplying, highways are empty, smokestacks don’t smoke, fewer planes are flying so less sound from the sky, cruise ships are not sailing so less pollution in the oceans, oil rigs have stopped fracking,  and so much more.

Musicians are making more music.

Writers are writing.

Cooks are creating.

Weavers are weaving.

Bloggers are blogging.

Dog walkers have been replaced by dog owners.

Babysitters, nannies, and preschools have been replaced by mom and dad.

Yards are tended to by homeowners instead of lawn companies.

Even in the mist of this disruption, there is some good. In fact, there is much good.

There are fewer car accidents.

We are practicing better hygiene.

Family meals are a ‘thing’ again.

Conversations are real.

Because of the Covid-19 outbreak, humans are taking a pause right now. We have the time now to decide who we are, who we want to be and what difference we want to make in the world.

Mary Oliver said it best when she wrote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Nature is smiling.

Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins, CO

Will Jeff Bezos pass the Four-Way Test?

My upbeat music of the morning – Paul McCartny- Hope for the future

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Look around you. There’s so much opportunity to do good. And unfortunately, there’s way too much opportunity to be bad. And for some of the richest people in the world –there’s the opportunity to do nothing.

In my Rotary Club, we follow guiding principles called the Four-Way Test.

The Four-Way Test:

Of the things we think, do or say:

1 – Is it the truth?
2 – Is it fair to all concerned?
3 – Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4 – Is it beneficial to all concerned?

Bill Gates (March 9, 2020)

The Gates Foundation and Wellcome are each contributing up to $50 million, and the Mastercard Impact Fund has committed up to $25 million to catalyze the initial work of the accelerator. The Gates Foundation’s funding is part of its up to $100 million commitment to the COVID-19 response announced last month.

Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world with an income of over $112 billion continues to hoard his wealth at a time when workers need paid health care more than ever.

Instead of Whole Food employees getting paid time off (PTO) to quarantine themselves, they are asked (in an email) to consider donating their own PTO to employees who are sick and need additional time off. I am pretty certain this request is not fair to all concerned, nor will it build goodwill and better friendships.

Might the unspoken expectation be that once they use up all their PTO and their coworkers PTO that they should go in while sick?

Oh, wait a second. I was wrong. Whole Foods also said that it will offer unlimited, unpaid time off during the month of March and 2 weeks of paid time off (PTO) for workers who test positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.  I’m not really feeling the love, are you?

So, Whole Food workers  will get 2 weeks of PTO if they test positive for the virus and maybe a bit more if they have generous coworkers with available PTO to donate. What if someone in their house has the virus and they need to self-quarantine?

Ok, to be fair, Amazon stocks are only selling at $1,689.15 right now. Jeff Bezos maybe fretful during this crisis but he can put his fears aside (unlike his Whole Foods employees) because Amazon “is opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the U.S. in their fulfillment centers and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service.”

Of the things we think, do or say:

1 – Is it the truth?
2 – Is it fair to all concerned?
3 – Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4 – Is it beneficial to all concerned?

I am pretty certain that Jeffery would not pass the Four-Way Test. 

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The next outbreak? We’re not ready – Bill Gates TedTalks April 2015

Bill Gates Blog – How to respond to Coronavirus

Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg where are you?

Ok World – What Happened?! (Coronavirus)

OK world – what happened?

January 2020 was full of hope, dreams, and longing with a new year on the horizon. Plans to travel, connect, learn and re-energize made the top ten list. And then something else happened instead. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) entered our lives. It sort of creeped in really slowly. And although it existed, it was mostly ignored.

When I first heard about this virus in early January 2020, I thought ‘These viruses happen to other people who live far, far away in places like China.’ Ebola, HIV, Dengue, SARS, MERS, Swine flu, Zika and so many other deadly health threats were distant to me – or so my small mind thought at the time.

I realized that as the COVID-19 virus spreads, our lives become smaller.  Travel is halted. The border between Canada and the US has closed. ‘Shelter-in- place‘ has been issued in San Francisco. Gathering with others has been discouraged and ‘social distancing’ has been encouraged in ways there were unimaginable at the start of March.

All sports events at all levels have been cancelled. Broadway plays, theaters, universities, schools, libraries, ski resorts, meetings, churches, fitness centers, bars, breweries, and casinos have been mandated to close. Colorado has pretty much shut down the state. Drug stores, grocery stores, liquor stores and department stores are still running and are looking to hire workers to help keep the shelves stocked.

Social Disruption initiated

Universities announced they will teach classes online so students are not allowed back on campus for the present time. Businesses want their workers to stay home and work remotely. People are home. They are not driving their cars, using gas, entertaining or socializing. They are hunkering down BECAUSE there is nothing to do.

And that is the goal. Nothing to do will keep people home. Nothing to do will help decrease the spread of the virus. Nothing to do forces us to stay inside and away from others. If there is no one around, there is no one who can give me the virus. And there is no one I can give it to if I have it.

Now we are told it is not about IF it happens but WHEN the virus will happen.

Everything I’ve just written is fact. And most everything has occurred in the past 2 weeks for US citizens.

So what now?

Stay healthy. Here’s my list of things I am planning to do.

Taking Control of My World
  • 1st of all – I refuse to spend my day watching the news. The TV news will destroy my soul and take me down to a very sad place. I watch Norah O’Donnell on the CBS evening news  then turn it off. I also go to youtube.com/news and choose something from that list if I want additional coverage.
  • 2nd – I have a whole list of youtube.com music that I can click on and listen to uninterrupted for 3+ hours. That music helps ground me. Want to breathe in Mozart?  How about relaxing Zen music? Good morning music?
  • 3rd – I plan to make regular phone calls to my family and friends. This is the perfect time not only because they are home with more time on their hands as am I but also because if not now – when?
  • 4th – Since all the fitness centers are closed, I’ll push myself out the door to walk. It’s good for my head, heart, soul and body. And I am practicing ‘social distancing’ in a healthy manner.
  • 5th – I am downloading books from my library using Hoopla and Libby and Overdrive. Also, through my library, I can download videos and movies through Kanopy. I can read magazines using Flipster, learn a language using Odilo or visit a music library.Poudre River Public Library download resources
  • 6th – And most important for my psyche is I plan to incorporate color into my life. Now is not the time for black or white. I am thinking all the colors of the rainbow! Color is such a great mental stimulation for me.

Next year at this time when I read this blog post, I want to close my eyes and remember how well we all got through it. How we pulled together as friends and created togetherness where before there were only strangers. How we reached out and offered help, comfort and compassion when others were struggling.

In the meantime, I will be writing it all down as a way to help me remember it, make sense of it and learn from it.

Loving you, Marge Katherine

Resources –

The Holidays are OVER – Amen!

The Do’s & Dont’s of Social Distancing

Symptoms of COVID-19

Corona Virus Near Me