April Reflections 2020

A comment from a dear friend, Migo, from Unnecessary News from Earth, inspired me to finish and share a post I have been working on in the few free moments I have had this month. 

***

April 10

No words flow through me
to ease a heavy heart
or bring comfort or joy to others

I’ve absorbed a plethora
of muddled thoughts
and far too many
powerful emotions
not my own

I remember to breathe
and muster discipline
knowing integrity
means fulfilling
responsibilities one carries
to ease the suffering
of others in troubling times
by being present, listening,
and caring



Fleeting moments of wonder
are a precious reminder
why it matters to care

***

April 13

My little dog has been sick for the past week,

sometimes struggling to breathe or pee

Some days, he seems to be better, but others, not

We still take brisk walks at least twice daily

on residential streets that are relatively empty

 

This morning, there were only two people out –

one woman on the sidewalk in front of her house,

The other in her idling car with her window down.

Neither acknowledged our presence

as my dog and I walked by giving them wide berth

They merely kept talking, their conversation troubling

and impossible to ignore as they shouted to each other

across the requisite social distancing

I don’t trust anyone now,” said the woman on the sidewalk.

I don’t either,” was the reply.

 

At least they could give voice to their fear

and find a little comfort through an increasingly

rare sense of human and community connection.

Their fear encouraged me to finish a task I had begun

not out of fear to protect myself, but as a signal to others

that I care enough about keeping them safe

to be willing to look and feel ridiculous

Note:

Not the best of pictures… 🙄

A student showed me one of the face masks she was making for elders on her reservation during our video conference. She inspired me to pull out my sewing machine, find an online pattern, and make some, at least for myself, with long-neglected skills and clumsy hands. Fortunately, I had fabric thanks to another student from long ago who bought way too much material to make tobacco ties to thank participants in a research project we were working on together with a multidisciplinary team.

For information about the effectiveness of home-made cloth face masks, you can checkout this NPR link.

***

April 18

Pandemic Reflections

 

While washing the cup

my son-in-law, Billie,

gave me more than a decade ago

when he visited me

in Missoula, Montana

I wondered …

Where do people go

when they die?

 

I miss him and

so many others

who have passed on

Is there a consciousness

that survives the transition

from one state to another?

Or do the molecules

of our being merely disperse

into the cosmos unaware

of all the lives we lived

as essential elements

of the many other forms

that contributed to our being

for eons untold before

we were born?

 

Perhaps those who fear death,

as I sometimes do,

sense that we may simply

cease to be

making all of our petty concerns

so pointless in the end

 

Maybe we only live on

in the memories of others

because of the kindness or cruelty

we shared during the short time

we were here…

My granddaughter’s first birthday with her mom and dad, March 5, 2008. Her father died just before Christmas in 2018 when she was 11.

***

Sending my best wishes and hoping you are all finding moments of peace and meaningful connections during these challenging times. 💜

 

51 thoughts on “April Reflections 2020

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  1. I am sorry, Carol, that your little friend is ill, and I hope he gets better soon.

    Friends keep telling me that as alone as I am, I should have a dog or cat. In fact, I can have neither, living where I do, since pets are verboten! But even if I could have a pet, death has been a constant companion since childhood, losing relatives, friends (in Vietnam, car accidents, illness, etc) and pets of all kinds. And so even if i could have a pet, I would not, because I can no longer stand losing people and pets I love to the reaper, not that this makes any difference to the reaper, of course.

    I was worried about you, Carol! You hadn’t posted for four weeks. I am just glad you are okay! And your poem on April 10th really spoke to me.

    I find myself consumed with hatred for this political/economic system. I thought by eliminating my blog, I could get better control of myself, but no luck so far. I am trying my best to know what is happening, and without letting it destroy me.

    I know people here, in Ohio, who have already lost their businesses, because of a simple strain of flu, which is being used to create a world that the insane, inbred few can rule over. And the evidence of this piles up more and more every day.

    Like you, I fear physical death, even though I long to be out of this prison I have been entombed in for seventy years. As Ira Gershwin wrote: “I’m tired of living, and afraid of dying”.

    I really do hope your dog gets better soon, he/she looks like a sweet little guy!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am always grateful for your thoughtful, honest comments, Dave, and I appreciate your well-wishes for little Pinto. He’s actually about 10 years old, although he’s only been with me for about 7 years. He was a special needs adoption because past abuse and/or abandonment left him with some challenging issues. He’s proven to be a delightful and devoted (almost too much so) companion. And he sings – opera! He almost died last summer, in part due to a less-than-competent veterinarian. Given that experience, his age, and the limited vet services now, the best options are vitamins, rest, love, and exercise. It will break my heart if I lose him, but he and my aging parakeet, Queenie, are my last pets.

      Although, as you know, I have a critical view of the current sociopolitical structures, and distrust the MSM, the threat of COVID – 19 is having very real and disastrous impacts on the lives of my students. My focus is on helping them through this. Let me share part of my reply to Migo this morning:

      “It has also been hard sometimes to balance my emotions during such uncertain, tragic times. But yesterday before a virtual class, I realized that I was born and conditioned by life for these times, to work with this small class of exceptional students. They are passionate about learning what they can to help others and create healthier communities. And I have the time to figure out how to provide encouragement and help them learn [some of] what they need to know.”

      Tragic, chaotic times also create the possibilities for re-envisioning the types of world we want to live in and can raise awareness about the need to work together to build something new from the ashes. People are truly suffering now because of the disruptions to the wage-slavery system and money economy that rule us all. But these old structures have been marginalizing, enslaving, and killing people for centuries, and destroying the earth as well. The systems need to change. But people need to wake up for that to happen and learn to help each other.

      I am looking forward to listening to the compositions you shared a while ago. The transition to online teaching and the stressful context for students have left me little free time. Sending my best wishes to you, dear friend. And again, thank you. I am grateful that you are still here in spirit on WordPress! 💜

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Wishing you the same, Carol ❤
    It's good to hear from you. I, too, have "absorbed a plethora / of muddled thoughts / and far too many / powerful emotions / not my own." As a result, I've placed my current writing project on hold and have focused on research reading. Now is the time for silence and reflections.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so good to hear from you and catch up with your recent posts, Rosaliene. I always learn so much from you! Thank you for your kind words and for sharing wise insights about the healthiest ways for dealing with times like these. Sending my best wishes. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Carol! So many things going on inside this post! I love your poem…it spoke to me…and I had to read your closing poem twice because each time it said something more…hmmm…pondering.
    I am sorry your little doggie does not feel well…that is so hard. I send loving healing energy your way. And I hope that you are doing the best that you can do given our current situation.
    Sending light…and love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Lorrie, and for your gentle loving presence. I deeply appreciate your blessings for my little dog. He’s doing a bit better today.

      Your observation is so true about the many different messages in this post. I have so little time to write, and even less to blog these days. Sometimes, I post a collection of things that feel important to share because I only have one or two days for blogging in a given month. The different pieces may or may not appear to connect, but thoughts and insights come when they will. Sometimes, I take time to record them before they disappear.

      I am so grateful to you for sharing your important thoughts and feelings. 🙂

      Sending love and light to you, too, dear Lorrie. 💜

      Like

      1. Ah…Carol, I love your response. And I totally get it. I don’t know if it is a bit of age, or the times we are in, but I, too, need to write ideas down or I forget them! I should use the record button on my phone…thanks for the idea. It was so windy on my walk today it was really hard to hold the pad and pen and not have it fly out of my hands!
        I’m happy your doggie feels better…I know they can read the energy of the world and boy do we have an onslaught of strong energy lately.
        Stay well, my friend. Keep all of your thoughts together and continue to share them here 😉
        Sweet Blessings 💜

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I wanted to click “Like” on many of the “thoughtful, honest comments” to this beautiful post, but for some reason, they wouldn’t take….so I’ll just say that both post and comments help make up for some of the “troubling times” which the coronavirus and Trump have visited upon us. I don’t know if that falls under the category of WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER or MISERY LOVES COMPANY (or both) — but, either way, THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is always delightful to hear from you, Mister Muse. I know your comments will bring a smile. 🙂

      Thank you so much for your kind and lovely comments, as as always, for sharing your lighthearted humor even in dark times.

      Sending my best wishes to you! 💜

      (P.S. – I’m not sure what’s going on with WordPress, I changed themes recently to address a different issues with “Likes.” I will see what I can do when I have a little more time…)

      Like

  5. Hello, Carol. Your post was a pleasure to read. It certainly gives food for thought and broadens one’s outlook on life.
    I hope that the little chap feels better; give him a pat for me, please.
    Thanks for sharing. Take care, Carol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and lovely comments, Mick. Your stories also provide plenty of food for thought. I wanted to comment on “Cuthbert the Caterpillar” when I read it last evening, but your story raised so many questions about life as it is, I wasn’t sure where to begin. You are a masterful storyteller!

      I will pet little Pinto for you. He seems to feel s a little better today.

      Sending my best wishes to you! 💜

      Like

  6. Much to ponder… much to quietly smile upon. The cosmos beckons, flirting, enticing, seducing as it always has. We got this far, whether this was a rise or a tumble, and we continue to travel beyond space and time. Fear is not part of us, it is imposed to make us weak and powerless. When I hear people talking about their fear I am reminded of the Bene Gesserit Mantra in Dune: “Fear is the mind killer. It is the little death that brings total annihilation. I will not fear. I will face my fear and let it pass over me and through me and when it has gone, only I will be standing here.” The more we allow ourselves to live in unnatural conditions as our civilization dictates, the more fear we will have to face. It is the price of having chosen a non-sustainable way of life; of having ignorantly denied and defied nature’s laws and limits to growth. This pandemic is being used by the controllers to measure how much control they can exert over 8 billion fearful sheep and so far they are marveling at how easy it is with the right propaganda. Another controller once said, ‘There is nothing to fear but fear itself.’ However it was meant, there is truth in that but of course “they” would never allow such a powerful manipulating tool to be eliminated from society. Slaves live in fear and uncertainty. I think we’ve clearly shown that we now all live as slaves for that is the only option obedience to authority gives. Fear upholds the power structures but also undermines the societal pyramid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thought-provoking comments, Sha’Tara.

      Fear is a funny emotion. I’m not sure it’s all bad. I remember how much public speaking terrified me when I had to do it frequently in my job for a state agency. I faced it anyway by enrolling in a course that helped me see how to work with it – how to use it to be a more engaging presenter. It gave me emotional energy to work with if I could remember a few pivotal tools – to take time to breathe and reflect, to keep focused on my purpose and forget my ego. When I was being stalked on a forest path one night, it heightened all of my senses, and gave me a clear insight about the importance of never showing fear to a possible predator. One step at a time, slowly, keeping my gaze on the path ahead.

      As I think about these examples now, I realize these lessons have remained. I don’t fear my fear. It gives me heightened awareness and instantaneous flashes of insight about how to act. I do, however, greatly fear what other people might do when they’re afraid. I avoid crowds where heightened emotions are likely to erupt into fear, anger, and senseless violence.

      I suspect in times ahead, I may need these skills with a psychopathic manipulator of the masses as president inciting people who are very afraid to resort to violence. Let us all hope or pray or do whatever we can to raise awareness so that doesn’t come to be…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, Carol, So many thoughts, each of which deserves time and words in response.
    As someone with respiratory issues the virus has had me at home for a long while already. Given that cases here in MA are still rising, I am likely to be home for a while longer, eh. I have to be rather vigilant re who I come into contact with, so do family members. It is odd that one virus has left me susceptible to another, or perhaps not that odd given the way viruses work. I spend many hours each week providing support to others via telemedicine, a better option by far than the phone. Then I try to be in the studio or to write, figuring the best way to stop the crazy colonists from driving me over the edge.

    I do not know what happens after death. I just know my experience of near death, and the work I have done with spirits. Maybe we ask the wrong questions when we fret about some sort of personal continuation in the afterlife. Then again, so many of us have the experience of dear ones crossing over to share something with us. Perhaps we are so interconnected that death becomes meaningless, only the immediate physical absence of those who remain with us.
    Much love, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Michael, and for sharing such important insights about how this virus uniquely affects both the challenges you face and the gifts it has given you to help others.

      I don’t know what happens after death, either. I do know how painful it is to witness the death of those we care about, though. With each passing year, I hope that my last years will not create an unnecessary burden for my family, although I don’t regret the years I spent supporting my mother during the last 14 years of her life as Alzheimer’s increasingly diminished her abilities for self-care and communication. I do remember a dream after her passing when she appeared and engulfed me in healing light.

      I am deeply grateful for your comments, Michael. Sending love to you, too. 💜

      Like

  8. Hi Carol, you have written about Billie before. I am sorry he passed away so young leaving your daughter and grandchildren without a husband and a father. It is hard to look into any heart regardless of how much we want to, or think we can be the difference. I bet Pinto is chasing mice or biting ankles in his dreams. Take care. Your post was wonderful and made me think. Take care good friend. Bob

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Bob. I’m grateful for the memories, even though they carry sadness. I remember the good times, too. Little Pinto seems to be doing better. Now that the weather is a bit warmer, we take long walks around the neighborhood. I let him choose directions when we come to the end of a block, even on days when strong, cold winds blow down the ridge making some directions harder to bear. It gives me a chance to see things that I wouldn’t ordinarily notice – amazing houses with turrets, multi-colored chalk drawings on sidewalks left by children who can no longer go to school, huge old green ash trees marked for cutting because of disease, and some elaborate gardens in tiny spaces, Of course, I can’t take photos. Pinto is too busy trotting along, sniffing every tree and post along the way. Sending my gratitude and best wishes to you, dear friend. 💜
      .

      Like

  9. Hello Carol,
    I had to read this a few times to take it all in. So beautiful, and heart wrenching too. I do hope your dog feels better, and that you and all your loved ones continue to take good care.
    All best,
    Takami

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Takami, I so appreciate your thoughtful, lovely comments. And thank you for sending your kind wishes for little Pinto. He seems to be doing better now that we can long walks in warmer weather. Sending my gratitude and best wishes to you and your family. 💜

      Like

  10. Thank you for sharing!!.. Hope all is well in your part of the universe and your partner in life (he’s not just a dog.. 🙂 ) is on the mend!!.. as for the passing of others in your world “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ( Dr. Seuss)… they remain in your heart and you can visit with them anytime you wish… 🙂
    Life doles out challenges before us and one can become quite busy, if one chooses to live life!…

    Until we meet again..
    May flowers always line your path
    and sunshine light your way,
    May songbirds serenade your
    every step along the way,
    May a rainbow run beside you
    in a sky that’s always blue,
    And may happiness fill your heart
    each day your whole life through.
    May the sun shine all day long
    Everything go right, nothing go wrong
    May those you love bring love back to you
    And may all the wishes you wish come true
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Andrea. In times like these, it helps when I can give voice to the myriad thoughts and feelings that flow to and through me. Not all of them are easy to bear, but once expressed, I am able to gain a bit of insight and the distance I need to be present in the moment to help others. With so much fear, suffering, and death all around, I would worry if I didn’t feel or care. Even during video classes, I see tears in my students’ eyes and hear the depth of confusion and distress that they are carrying, I need an outlet to release my own, And sometimes, I know it’s important to share what flows through me with humility and vulnerability in hopes that others who feel the same will find comfort in the fact that they are not alone. Sending my gratitude and best wishes to you. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for this great post my dear earthling friend Carol! You always remind us that there are wonderful people like you on this lonely planet! We, I and WD are sending our best wishes to Pinto!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, dear Migo, it is always a gift to hear from you. Thank you so much for inspiring me to share these odd bits I wrote during April, and thank you so much for your kind words. Little Pinto and I send our best wishes to you and WD. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  12. All the best to you as well dear Carol. You posed a wonderful question about what happens when a life ends. I have resigned myself to thoughts penned by Mark Manson in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F#ck(excuse my French) .. the fear of death drives one to leave their mark/Legacy. It begins by understanding “your value set” and respecting the fact that others may have a different one. I love the premise that not giving an “F” is simply looking within at what your values are.. it doesn’t mean you don’t care about others Especially if part of your value set “is the care and welfare of others”. I appreciate your kindness, empathy and strength you share and to you that is quite a legacy in the making.. lots of rambling here. Hope it makes sense 😊. Peace to you always. Raymond

    Liked by 1 person

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