We’ve begun the time of social distancing in the age of COVID 19. Someone else called it physical distancing, since we need to keep reaching out to each other in other social ways. Margy and I are both over sixty and have various health issues. So we are among those with elevated risk. But going outside is very much permitted and helpful during this time. We went to Kettle Cove on Saturday–beautiful ocean, sunshine, stones on the beach. It was very windy and the brisk cool air felt bracing to our souls.
I often like to look for sea glass when I walk on the beach, but this time I only took photos–photos of water, photos of Margy, photos of stones. So I was surprised, when I was looking at the photos later, to notice what looked like two pieces of sea glass–and they were the rare red and orange ones! (I have never found them on the beach before.) Can you see them in this photo? I just want to reach in and pick them up. It is both exciting and a bit frustrating to see them right there.
But perhaps they are an apt metaphor for times like this–we can see (and hear), but not touch, all those we love and like, all those with whom we are bound together in community. We still have the virtual connections of phone and internet. In the past few days, I’ve reached out to distant and local friends by phone and text and Facebook and email, and others have reached out to me: checking in on each other, reaffirming our bonds, our love. That is something else we can do in this age of COVID 19.
We are so interconnected, all of us, in such a myriad of interdependency. The last time I was out and about was to grocery shop on Thursday at the Portland Food Coop and Hannaford, trying to use hand sanitizer as much as possible of course. Thursday was the day Maine reported its first tested case of COVID 19. (And of course, without testing available, there were likely many other cases unknown.) But then we had an emergency–our hot water tank was suddenly spewing water out into the basement. So thankfully, a plumber came out Thursday night to help shut everything down, then came on Saturday to install a new hot water heater. He and a helper. It reminds me that plumbing emergencies don’t take a break during pandemics.
So there will continue to be interactions that are vital for life. As we seek to limit such interactions, we notice them all the more. I feel such gratitude for plumbers and electricians, for people working in grocery stores, for those delivering packages and mail, those keeping gas stations open so we can drive to the beach, those keeping phone and internet systems functioning. And my prayers each day go to all the workers who have to keep on working, to put food on the table and pay the rent. And my prayers go to those caring for elders in nursing homes, those working in hospitals, those bringing food and shelter to people without homes, and all the other front-line soldiers of compassion. My prayers to all the front-line soldiers of compassion.