I’ve always considered walking or running as the best form of mind release. It seems like on a walk/run I have my deepest thoughts. I think more clearly. Last week I went on a walk with Lola one afternoon to clear the mind. We started our walk the usual way and everything seemed normal. Within minutes I passed a lady working in her garden with a mask on. She saw me and waved. I waved back and commented on the beautiful day. We kept walking. It then dawned on me that this is what’s happening all over the world. I only see a tiny fraction of the bigger picture. Potosi is a small town and even it is being affected. Towns all across the world, big and small, have had their normal way of life completely flipped upside down. Is this our new normal? Virtual conversations, online school, 6 feet a part at all times? Are medical masks going to be a new form of clothing accessory?
With all the darkness that looms inside those questions, I noticed something during our walk. I passed yards filled with kids that can’t go to school, husbands cutting the grass because their jobs are “non-essential”, older married couples sitting on their porches chatting because they’ve been advised not to leave their homes. I saw folks working on yard projects, cleaning out garages, going on family walks, working out because gyms are closed, and grandparents sitting in the yard with their grandkids. I thought to myself, today might be the closest we’ve been to “slowing down” in years. Decades even. It’s taken a global pandemic to force us to slow down. This is now a time when people stay home. A time when they don’t go into town unless they need to. A time when people cook meals instead of eating out. A time when husbands and wives see each other instead of acting like ships in the night. A time when kids play outside instead of being shuffled from one after school sport to the next.
This was all just something I saw from a walk with my dog on our street. I got home, hopped in my car and took a drive. As I drove around town I began to see something that I had looked past so many times. For weeks I’ve been caught up in the gloom of what was happening all around us. Then I saw our town in a different light. I saw all it was doing to move forward. To persevere. To adapt. I saw all the dozens of people who are risking their own health for the sake of others. I saw nurses tending to the needs of worried and scared patients. I saw school lunch staff and teachers bag 4,900 lunches for kids across town that depended on school meals. I saw officers directing and protecting the needs of essential workers. And I saw signs on the front doors of closed businesses that read “We’ll be back.” Those three words ran through my head as I drove through town. We’ll be back. We will recover. We will make it through. This is a time for us as a community to come together now more than ever. We will adapt and overcome. I truly believe that we will come back from this stronger than ever. Because I believe in this small town.
I was at our hospital when I read this poem that they had written on their walls. It brought me to tears.
“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.”
I am so thankful that I live in this town. I am so thankful for every individual that is waking up every morning and putting on a mask to go to work. I am so thankful for the men and women who are tirelessly working to keep us safe. I am so thankful for the people of this town that are staying home and doing their part. I am so thankful for the true labour of love that each person is showing. We’ll be back.
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