Right now, looking out the window you see chaos. Empty shelves, long lines. Locked doors and six-foot isolation zones. It feels like the world’s being torn apart, but I see people coming together.
At Rite Aid, I see a family holding up the checkout line with a cart full of Coke and a notebook of coupons. Six of them, arguing in Spanish with the cashier, but arguing together. Friends are riding their bikes along the quiet neighborhood streets. I see a family of five walking together on a spring afternoon, the brother and sister holding hands.
People are talking now. Strangers in line. Isn’t this crazy? I’ve never seen anything like it. And they laugh. The girl behind the print counter at Staples (Asian) laughing with a customer (black) about how to make hand sanitizer with vodka and aloe vera, and them both glancing at me in line (white) to see that I’m laughing, too. The cashier at Target asks me how I’m surviving the end of the world and I say she has cute glasses. Because they are cute, but maybe before, I would have swiped my credit card and she would have called “next,” and our stars would have touched shoulders for a moment, then drifted on.
It’s spring. It’s a beautiful spring. The cherry trees are blooming, the tulips are unfolding. I saw a mother hen with eleven yellow chicks in the grass on the side of the road. In the driveway in a neighborhood, two men were home from work, sitting in lawn chairs and talking in the sun.
It’s a blessing. Time. Days to be still. Hours to sit on the porch and read, to pick up the paintbrush, to call your cousin in Texas and ask how are things over there, are you okay? I just wanted to hear you’re okay.
It makes me think of World War II. I wasn’t alive then, but was it a little like today? All of a sudden people fighting the same enemy, caught in the rapids of things they can’t change. Weddings, flights, birthdays, conferences, home groups cancelled, everything bound up and reigned in with a jolting halt. Because we’re all in this together. Our enemy is the same, and it isn’t each other.
In the end, the fear will mist away. The sun will rise, the dream will end, and we’ll sweep up the shattered glass and the broken chairs. We’ll scrub the smoke stains from the walls, button on the suit, and go back to work. But maybe we’ll take something with us. A memory of three weeks of stillness when the Corona virus came to town and we survived and got the t-shirt. Do you remember March 2020? They sent me home from school, I played video games for a month and my mom almost killed me. Those were some good days.