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Musings on woodpeckers, Covid, and change

I am sitting at home, looking out at the Taconics in the distance and a downy woodpecker at my window bird feeder, drinking tea with a dog on my lap, and thinking how incredibly fortunate I am that this is my experience of sheltering in place. And I know there are so many out there fighting to save lives, searching for better ways of managing Covid, and doing the daily work of making sure that there is food for us to buy on our masked ventures to the grocery store. In my musings, I think that there must be a silver lining — but how can i even think of a silver lining when so many people are suffering and dying? Today I was listening to Governor Cuomo talking about life under Covid-19; he said what so many of us have been thinking — that Covid has brought us to, if not a grinding halt, at least into first gear, which can allow us, if we choose to let it, to take a closer look at the way we live and to start making the changes that so many of us have talked about for so long.  That is the silver lining — and, it does not diminish or lessen the suffering of so many; but on the contrary, it requires of us who are safe at home with puzzles and books and family and zoom, who have the time to reflect on what this means, what it says about us as a society, to think about how we live, what we, as a society, do well, and what needs to be changed. We see the minimum wage employees who are on the line so that we can have cereal and in the morning and a glass of wine at night. We see the vulnerability of people of color to this disease because of not having had access to good health care. We see that already pollution has begun to clear because we are not driving as much. And, we appreciate our small local businesses which we have always taken for granted! Where will I get my almond croissant if Gourmet Provence doesn’t survive, or homemade Mexican with great beer if Red Clover is one of the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that don’t make it through Covid? I take great pride in knowing that we at The Bookstore can get you your book in record time, and Barbara will deliver it to you on her bike. Amazon can’t do that! So, if you are on the front lines or suffering through loss or illness of a loved one, my heart goes out to you. I wish I could lift some of the weight from your shoulders. I know that even though many of us are weathering the pandemic from the safety of our homes, our lives are not free of pain or anxieties — friends and family who are vulnerable, concerns of how to pay our bills, will our job be there in the end — but with this time that has been forced on us, we have an opportunity to imagine a better way to do things and to be with each other. 

Jill Freeland

 

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