In the face of this global coronavirus pandemic, we find ourselves facing a frightening and difficult challenge that none of us have ever experienced. While so much remains a mystery about the disease, for certain, it is easily transmitted and poses a grave danger to the more susceptible members of our society.
First and foremost, it has struck fear in my heart that something tragic could befall someone I love. Secondly, our communal quest to “flatten the curve” has stripped many of us of the things we love for the time being. Local music performances, ongoing tours, and spring festivals have been cancelled or postponed, in addition to professional and recreational sports, theater, and countless other events. Accordingly, those of us who strive to be part of the solution and not part of the problem are severely curtailing social interactions of any kind.
This frozen waterfall in Telluride, Colorado, makes for an appropriate analogy of our situation. Our “hustling culture,” where everyone moves about in an almost constant flow, has suddenly been put on hold. The lives we are accustomed to have been paused indefinitely and we find ourselves sort of frozen in time.
I have been having trouble coming to grips with this. At times, it feels like I’m in the throes of an apocalyptic nightmare. However, as surreal as it seems, these uncharted waters are our current reality. The uncertainty of the future disturbs me, both anticipating the meteoric rise in sickness and considering the possibility of an extended lockdown that could last months rather than weeks.
The fear of someone we care about (or ourselves) becoming gravely ill combined with the emotional toll of forced furloughs, lack of income, and all these other restrictions on our way of life may cast a pall over our collective consciousness unlike most of us have ever endured — perhaps similar to times of war. Certainly, this does not compare to the kind of horror confronted by soldiers on the front lines, but in a sense, we are waging a war, a war against nature. Those that believe in karma might feel that this is our planet fighting back against the longtime abuse perpetrated against it by the human race.
Personally, I try to assuage my anxiety by telling myself “one day at a time.” It also helps to remember that all of these provisions have been put in place for the benefit of people who are highly at-risk. We (at least the more informed and conscientious members of society) are sacrificing our own convenience and happiness so that we can help prevent the suffering of others. A week ago, these measures may seem like overreacting, but as the numbers of infected people rise exponentially every day, the need for social distancing becomes more and more evident. Drastic measures are needed to gain control of this threat.
Unfortunately, too many people, whether uninformed or in denial, still defiantly ignore the medical community’s (and finally the government’s) advice, which will only prolong the hazard. People need to understand that these times call for selflessness, not selfishness. We are all in this together. Containing this pandemic requires full participation and total commitment to save lives and, considering the economic impact an extended lockdown would have, save livelihoods.
So, what can we do with all of the extra time we find ourselves with? Sure, Netflix and other streaming television sites have become a panacea now more than ever, but perhaps we can put the devices aside now and then and enjoy the outdoors. We may not all have a pristine Rocky Mountain valley out our back door like the Akita named Jus Love Jus Live does in the picture below, but seeking out whatever nature we can access nearby will likely do us some good.
Connecting to the grid actually remains important to stay informed as news continues to unfold every day, but let us be sure to boost our psyches with activities that don’t include our devices. Get a jump start on spring cleaning. (After all, spring is here!) Complete home projects we’ve been procrastinating from. Bust out the old board games and jigsaw puzzles! Write! Draw! Paint! Create! Hula hoop! Learn something new!
According to the experts, the pandemic is likely to get worse before it gets better. However, if we can come together by staying apart, eventually warmer temperatures will melt the ice and the waterfall will run freely again. Let us muster fortitude and put concern for others ahead of our own desires. While it burdens me that detractors still remain, to see solidarity amongst people from all walks of life gives me hope. I feel reassured knowing that despite our multitude of differences, we can still unify for a cause to serve the greater good.