By Edith Lazenby
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
~ Emily Dickinson
It was a day the world came to a halt.
Or it was the week the world slowed to a stop. Maybe it was the month we all found a touch of stillness. Or some might say God was upstairs wagging His finger at the humanity which was under a viral tent. Any way you shake it, man, woman and child were all in trouble.
Some gathered with family. Some huddled with lovers. Others just pined away in a room. We needed our friends and some of us needed strangers who became friends.
We had to pull together but stay apart.
Retail workers and truckers kept the country afloat. Nurses and doctors risked what they had to give what they could. We shared. We cared. Facebook became better than television because at least there is connection.
The already dying, died alone. No traveling to see mom or dad in their last days. Fear fanned all of us. Waving was all we could do, from a telephone a state or city or country away.
We prayed it would not spread and take more of the living to the dead. We prayed for toilet paper, coffee, booze and love. We prayed to be remembered not forgotten. We prayed if we lived alone not to die alone. We prayed even if we did not believe in prayer. We got on our knees and cried for mercy, not justice.
But life goes on, maybe mine or yours won’t, but look out the window, there are children playing.
The petri dishes for now gauge who will grow strong, who will carry on. Darwin died but his truths live on.
Our dreams may shift. Finding a hand to hold in the world of screens blossoms like the crocuses that push up before it’s even Spring. And yes, Spring sits on our laps and asks for birth and rebirth as many predict the next baby boom will baptize us all in nine months.
Now that which never asked crumb of me may let me see my dad before he dies. The bread I bake waits for the man I met to meet me, again. The friends I know call, and don’t let go. The sky is blue. And what is true remains true.
The lessons here some say are many and few; basic hygiene and hand washing if you never learned, you are now a master of, singing happy birthday as you lather. Some don’t have savings and need them. Some of us have not seen family in years and years. Some have no one near.
But we go on. We go on with our health and ill health, our aches and pains, our grief and joy. We go on as children and adults. We go on as teachers, parents, engineers, lawyers and gas station attendants. We go on as we are or we go on prepared to change.
We go on.
No one knows where the end is, but we never have. No one can nail the beginning but we never could. All we know is distance from me to you and you to them is better than your oldest friend.
Edith Lazenby is a teacher and a writer. She believes in taking risks, having fun, and embracing the people she meets along the way.
Editor: Dana Gornall