Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Black Swans

Black Swans

Long before any of us were walking around, people were sure about many things.  The earth was flat.  The surest way to cure a migraine was to drill a hole into your head.  Evil spirits lived inside brussels sprouts.  Women could become infertile if they did too much thinking.  And black swans did not exist.

That last surety was disproven in 1697 when a group of Dutch explorers spied black swans floating along a river in Western Australia.  Minds were blown.  Certainties were questioned. Knowledge was gained.

Some are calling this moment in time our very own black swan experience.  Many things that were so sure and so safe only weeks ago now seem as fragile as dust.  Much of what we thought we knew is only a memory now, and we struggle to make sense of this new reality, knowing, even as our brains fight to reject the idea, that things will never be quite the same again.

The Songwriter and I are two of the fortunate ones; we already work from home.  Our three dogs are simply delighted with all the walks they're getting every single day now.  But as my head hits the pillow every night, my thoughts swiftly travel to those wonderful people who own the tiny Mexican restaurant we've been frequenting for decades, the charming couple who own the gem of an inn in the Highlands of Scotland, the tiny bookshop on the tiny street, the dog groomer, the favorite waitress, the bakery owner.  There's no getting around it; so many lives are being affected in so many life-altering ways.

Deep in my soul, I have known for awhile that we were heading for change - abrupt and irrevocable change.  There was simply too much greed, too much contempt, too much focus on the things that have never mattered.  Science was ignored, faith distorted, selfishness applauded, divisiveness engineered.  We were due for a reckoning, I suppose.  And what we're left with when this all ends - and it will end - will depend on the decency and humanity of every citizen of the world.

Tribalism is as ancient an idea as some of those insane ones up in that first paragraph.  This crisis has revealed that insanity by showing us - in technicolor, in real time - that we live and breathe, suffer and die, together.  The videos of Italians singing out from their windows, the doctors dancing together in Iran, the shopkeepers in Georgia opening their stores early so the elderly can shop safely.  No one is separate; no one is immune.  Our planet is tiny.  Perhaps we know that now.

One of the sweet people I follow on Instagram posted this yesterday and I thought it bore repeating here. 

"And the people stayed home.  And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.  And listened more deeply.  Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.  Some met their shadows.  And the people began to think differently.  And the people healed.  And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.  And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed."
Kitty O'Meara

Help your neighbors. 
Stay safe, stay inside, and stay hopeful.