COVID-19: A Love Letter to Nature
I’m sorry it has taken me so long to write. You send feathered friends to foretell of the coming season. They sing that natural cycles will not be disturbed by the scourge of deadly illness the people won’t stop chirping about. In the early blue, they recite your enthusiastic message as if unaware that the people’s spring is postponed by at least two weeks, possibly more. For us, it’s uneasy to sit in the unknown and the uncertain. In persistent, high-pitched peeps, you urge that things are as they’ve always been. For you, in your innate sense of knowingness, all is as all shall ever be.
I can't help, but disagree. Everything is the same, but different.
You must have heard about the mass chaos - flights cancelled, businesses shut down, and innumerable numbers losing jobs. We tune in to a body of incomplete knowledge about an apparent pandemic, a mutation of the flu. How is it that a respiratory illness strikes greater panic than the staggering homicides that have plagued us for decades?
Today, death by COVID-19 = 217
Recovered = 125
Annually, death by homicide = ~16,000
Recovered = 0
It appears numbers and logic are inconsequential. It appears we’ve collectively accepted a masked political mandate for social distancing as “shelter-in-place” and not government-imposed separation. Meanwhile, ICE agents continue to tear down doors, children remain detained at our border, and the darker-skinned remain at higher risk for every possible form of suffering. We have been living in a national discriminatory state of emergency for decades.
Is this black and white? Is this a coincidence? Why is it that it took an indiscriminate killer for the emergency to be declared? We pretend like this perceived health threat is more dangerous than the historic hatred bred from the same strain of fear.
I suppose it can be difficult to compare mortality rates with the less quantifiable forms of chronic social ills. But as with most political trends, the consequences play out based on hierarchies of access to resources and power. I wonder this week, among my neighbors, who has lost a vacation, who has lost a home, and who has lost their human dignity?
Here I write to you in my state of confusion and muted disdain. What has become of our higher ideals? Perhaps Nature knows not of justice, but what of compassion? What of our interconnectedness? I feel you from the trees, through the quiet breeze that rustles your leaves, and the pitter-patter droplets of my dreams. You witness us disown our power, denying you while scrambling for a sense of control when we should be emulating how to let go.
I miss you. You have been part of me as I have been part of you, but I wish you were closer. My longing to touch you, to understand you, betrays my ache to understand my Self. Tell me, though I seldom reach out except in moments of desperation, will you still paint me lovingly in spring colors? Splashes and petals of pastel? I trust you will because that is how I choose to paint you, light and vibrant in perpetual serenity. Promise me that in spite of the numbers, the distractions, and the darkness you’ll continue to send your messengers. I promise as long as they return to sing, I won’t forget how resilient we can be.