Today, the sun shone. Brightly. It was pure joy. I had been alone in the house for a few weeks, and, today, I got outside and walked. As I was walking, I thought about my imaginary journey that has taken me to a beautiful blue lake in Kazakhstan, called Big Lake Almaty. It is surrounded by mountains. Well, beautiful is an understatement. It is spectacular. Like how does such a place exist on earth that is this radiantly beautiful type of spectacular?
I will talk more about the incredible beauty of Kazakhstan in the next few days. Today, I’m focusing on the day’s blogging prompt, which is to write about something going on right now, something in the news. And these are not usual times. If they were usual times, I would be participating in a walk for a nuclear free future. It was scheduled for this month. But because of the pandemic, the walk was canceled. It is impossible to do social distancing when you are walking several hundred miles with a group.
I have found that walking long distances is hard on my feet. But there is nothing like walking from town to town and making new friends along the way. There is nothing like looking at architecture and at gardens in one town after the next. There is nothing like using the slowest method of transportation possible: your own feet. We all want to arrive at our destination quickly. But, when we do that, we miss out by not having the world at touching distance.
The walk didn’t happen, and I felt sad. Maybe it will be rescheduled for some time in the future. And I had to let it go. I had to let go of the idea of walking by the Finger Lakes and through the Mohawk Valley and along the Hudson Valley. There will be other walks in other places at other times.
This is the time when I need to explore my smaller world, not my larger one. It has also been a time when I needed to go inside of me to understand who I am and how I could survive this time of aloneness intact. And I had to accept that because I like being alive. It has also been a time of disbelief for me, however. Did I really turn on the news to see someone holding a picket sign with the words, “We demand haircuts”? I’d feel silly if I protested over a haircut (or lack thereof, as I look in the mirror and see how my hair grows like a weed). Oh and there is that comparison of social distancing to communism. How about “Don’t cancel my golf season”? Was that stuff even supposed to make sense?
Wouldn’t you rather live than play golf? I’m not a golfer but, if I were, I would definitely choose life over golf. There will always be another golf season… if you’re alive to enjoy it.
I saw pictures of those protests against social distancing on the news and in social media. They seemed a bit far fetched to me. But they have attracted a following of people who are bored at home. Bored enough to decide that the measures that have been put in place to save our lives are stealing our liberties from us. They claimed that a quarantine was the equivalent of “martial law.” Martial law is a military takeover of the government and pretty much everything else. No. Just no. That did not happen.
What has happened is that the federal government has shown that it is in disarray. It is falling apart in a fit of confusion and lack of preparation. It is falling apart from a lack of leadership. I am for sure not a fan of the president, but it is distressing to watch him crack under the pressure of a worldwide pandemic. I never imagined that I would see a president tell us to social distance and then egg on the people holding the picket signs complaining about a delayed haircut. I never imagined that I would see the president collapse at the worst possible time, during a national emergency, attacking the press, and blaming everyone but himself for the difficult position that he finds himself in.
This is the time for a president to be a leader, to reassure a terrified nation that the medical community and the scientific community are doing as much as possible. This is the time for a president to work with Congress to secure the funding for the immediate needs of a pandemic. This is the time for a president to put together a team to talk about long-range planning, so that when a future pandemic hits, we will have an infrastructure in place to deal with it. This is the time for the president to step aside and let the experts answer the questions.
None of this has not happened. Instead of leadership, unity, and long term planning, we get divisiveness, toxicity, and a mean spirited attitude that has affected everyone, regardless of political party. We have a problem creator, not a problem solver, in the White House.
I think about these problems and wonder how they came about. I understand that I don’t have the leverage needed to fix them. I am just one person. And, because I have been on this inward journey, I can recognize that I have become saturated with negativity and that I need to recharge and re-center myself.
And so, it is good to be outside, in nature. The trees will bloom, and the flowers will grow. The bees are out, pollinating the dandelions. They are where they are supposed to be. Nature’s reliablity is comforting in a time of chaos, confusion, and distress.