Tag Archives: quarantine

Image

Health, Longevity and Community in the Pandemic

I have been eating better than usual and sleeping at least as well and as much during most of the quarantine associated with this pandemic. The truth is that this overall period of rest and sufficiency was interrupted by a couple of opposite realities. I had an injury or source of chronic pain that tormented me for a while. I seem to be mostly pulling out of that. I am feeling like the stresses of the quarantine itself or not really getting to me all that badly. I have remained connected to a lot of people and a few people a little more. If I do not get Covid-19 then it seems likely that I will come out of this crisis at least as healthy as I went into the crisis. Of course, that is a big if. I am a very long way from getting out of the woods. I will be out of the woods when I get a vaccine for the coronavirus afflicting the world, I have plans to get better healthcare but if the past is any guide then I will never get the vaccine. The other option is that I get the Covid-19 and maybe its next strain mutation and then build up enough immunity to be out of the woods. So far now this event means living with an added personal risk of death for an indefinite period of time.  . 

There is a great deal to try to understand as we deal with this pandemic and live our lives. Scarcely a business plan, a family tradition or leisure activity is left unaffected. So we have to try to redefine many things under the new conditions of the coronavirus pandemic. What will life mean in any of a thousand specific contexts with the Covid-19  pandemic factored in? That is the constantly and endlessly visible aspect of life. These days we are all beset by the same pandemic,

Someone who received a gift from someone to whom I gave a gift. We all experience the pandemic and the quarantine.

 

 

The pandemic is having a powerful impact on the world and on the United States of America where I live. What is going to be the outcome of this vast interruption. For me, the biggest question has been what is the place of this episode in my life story. I wonder often enough, is it the tragic episode where I survive the loss of those near and dear? Is it the final episode in my life — the very end of this mortal journey. Whatever readers believe or have experienced intimations of from beyond the curtain of death it is not the play that I have been performing since birth. The pandemic makes me aware of the fact that death may well have come for me just now may be waiting just outside for the proper time to introduce himself and he may wait without tiring or discouragement for quite a while to make my acquaintance.

But I do not want to forget that most people survive Covid-19 with little apparent short -term injury and even if kidney and heart damage occurs it does not seem likely to be a huge factor in the case of those with few symptoms during infection. So along with the efforts of many people to save lives that in theory include my life — there is also a good chance that I will survive this pandemic. In addition it takes more planning for me to prepare to keep living than it does to prepare for dying when even funerals are virtually impossible. Therefore, I am looking at the future as though I will live.

 

So what is the pandemic really? What does it seem like? For all of us it seems to some degree like we must constantly be dealing with the risk of any contact with those people we would like to contact and those with whom we come into contact because it is easier and more sane to come into contact. Thus is an era of separation as a primary objective when we think of other people. 

The layer of another reason to avoid getting together with other people is a matter that has greater or lesser significance for different people considering their state in life and other factors. For me there has been a long trend to isolation and a growing aversion to almost everybody as a close companion that predates any effects of the pandemic. One of the realities of this time is that I have invested what is a significant amount of money on top of what is an unspeakably huge amount of time to try to publish a book I call one of my novels . But this book is actually a mixture of meta-fiction and fiction. In the book there are connections between myself and other people that are discussed to some degree. But it is true that long before the virus rampaged across the world those connections had diminished in more than a few cases. So the pandemic is just another isolating factor. It isolates me from some family members, from some work colleagues and from some students. It makes my interaction in shopping and other contexts more strained. But it does not really turn a fully socially immersed person into a hermit in my case. Like a lot of people, I am trying to survive and get by in these trying times. I am not committed to a hardship of isolation that is entirely new to me.

 

Image from Josh Hild on Pexels

I watched a good bit of the NFL Draft on ABC. I was excited for LSU Quarterback Joe Burrows to continue his tour de force as NO 1 pick overall. I was happy as well for Justin Jefferson to continue the Jefferson family tradition of excellence at LSU and continue the Purple and Gold tradition at Minnesota. But for me he NFL has lost a good bit of its magic. So have a lot of other things — but I was aware of the sense of people reaching out for community. It is a limited kind of community in the first place but now it is somehow more tenuous.  I was glad to see the Draft-a-thon charity. I was happy to see the Head Coach Sean Peyton say that he feels well recovered.  I have been a football loving person and a good deal of what I did in my days involved football. But I never played anything close to a full and organized season.  But when I think of building community and of a legacy of engagement — I have to include football in those thoughts.

 

 

 

 

Football is one form of community that has not yet felt the full force of the pandemic. There is nothing determined yet about how great the overall impact of this pandemic will be. I think football is a kind of bridge on the landscape of my mind and life.  I never will be a football player in the sense that makes me comfortable saying I played football. But I have a lot of memories of playing football.

So there is the fact of isolation creeping into so many areas. But there is more than that going on here. We are aware as sport fans that sports are really not happening. We are aware of the role that sports have played in our lives and culture and yet we know that this huge absence is far more than we have experienced before but is only a relatively small part of all that is not happening. Churches, theaters, schools, synagogues, cafes, barbershops, hair salons, civic clubs, social clubs, casinos and family reunions are shuttered. Movies are not getting made. We are exposed to what life has to offer when all those forms of sharing are abolished. Although postponed and abolished are very different things the shock of so many postponements at once has the fell of some vast social revolution sweeping across our lives.

It seems like there is a good chance that my novel will not get self-published. But that is not so strange. I am used to being frustrated, However, if it is published it will bring a lot of factors to light and there will be plenty of distraction within its limited readership. Part of this coincides with events shaping the life of one real person deeply included in the meta-fiction portion of the book. I can live with how that will all play out and I think that other people can live with it as well. But the main thing to me is to get this book finally into the form of a decent book. Then I can decide how to pursue or abandon all my other literary projects. It is more like a chance to set a floor on these things than it is a chance to make things open up for a new career.

Poetry and The Path to A New Normal

The word Poetry sometimes embraces all the major genre  such as fiction, drama, literary history and literary biography.  This is a grave and extreme time which call for many artistic responses including responses which use words as the medium. Besides being the Earth Day of the Covid-19 Pandemic this was also an anniversary of the horrifying Earth Day of the  BP Oil Leak.  The two days are a strange contrast and there will be no place here to really discuss how different the two crises are. But both crises will be remembered here in this post about my own inner journey. But the Acadiana region and the world have always been important to me as has the great American natural heritage. I have responded to the crises and beauties of the natural order in words many times. Right now I am not writing so very much. Nor am I taking pictures during this challenging time.

I let  Earth Day pass without having commented upon it and uncelebrated on the screens of this blog or even noted in this blog this year.  I have left many things out in recent years — virtually everything . But here and here and here are links to the connections on the Earth Day theme in this blog in previous years. I did not post about Earth Day on Facebook either and there was also plenty to discuss. The world has responded to lessened pollution during the global slowdown.  Amazing observations of this phenomena have emerged from around the world.  I have watched a pair of owls killing and sharing their prey over several nights, a humming bird working a border of flowers around the oak tree  in front of the house I rent. The successes in my plantings and transplantings earlier this year. I may be making a mistake but I have been using this time as a time for giving, perhaps more than I can afford.

I am sharing some of those gifts here. But here is the relevant gift receipt for this particular crisis of the natural world and whatever opportunities may present themselves in this pandemic crisis. There are many worthy causes and I have given to many of them in small ways at various times. But we must do what we can to be people who address the needs of the planet we all share. A different type of person would look at my budget and say it was not responsible to for me to give anything. It might well be better citizenship to try and secure my wobbling financial survival. But I have lived on a different trajectory than merely securing myself for all of my life. So I gave a little to a cause that can afford to think large thoughts about the Earth’s problems.

The Nature Conservancy Logo
You Can Trust the Conservancy!
BBB Accredited Charity
Thank you, Frank!
Your gift of $25.75 ensures that the lands and waters you love get the protection they need.

I  am along way from putting together a coherent environmental program in this post. I have spelled out something closer in the model constitutions that were written to inspire a debate and dialog that never really ensued. The images below are more decoration than anything else but they illustrate a few connections to the Earth that have been highlighted in this blog.  I am leaving out many other things.

I was not in the mood to celebrate the rest the Earth is getting because the way it has come about depresses me in a number of ways.  Yet it is not possible for me to fail to celebrate this chance to see what a time of Natural Sabbath can do. It is one of the signs of hope in a troubled and troubling view of the future.

There is not a lot that is lighthearted in my experience of the pandemic and quarantine at this point. I hope that this is the worst my  experience gets — that I am not all that cheerful. I have plenty of time to reflect on the choices, actions and experiences that have gotten me to the place where I am in life. I really do not need  that because I have had so much time alone and have spent so much time focusing on what my own choices have and have not meant. I am aware, as I often have been; that I am not getting close to where I have felt the need to be in my life. because of the human crisis I also donated to a local cause helping to confront the coronavirus crisis head-on. Here is one of my receipts for that kind of thing. I replaced a few digits of the transaction ID with asterisks to protect myself and used a plain text facsimile of that receipt.

Donation Details
Date: April 23, 2020
Transaction ID: ****-9658-****-6886
Purpose: Acadian Museum
Reference: Sewing with Savoie
Donation to: Acadian Museum
Donation from: frank64summers3@gmail.com
Donation amount: $10.00 USD

There have been plenty of times when $36.00 would make a crucial difference in my own life. There will be plenty more times like that if I survive this current crisis and whatever crises are coming next. So why remain engaged. I am barely a blip on the economic screen — why try to live at all as a part of the solution?

As I often do, I am raising questions here that transcend anything I can address in this post. Only in reading a great deal of this blog can one answer the question of what I think are the reasons for myself or other individuals to connect with larger goals or issues when their lives are themselves not all that balanced and secure.

This is a time when among other things, I have begun an effort to self publish a novel. The fact that I am going that route is a pretty good indication that my life as a whole and my efforts with the novel have not been very successful. If one sells a novel and then later buys it back for self-publishing that can be a sign of success. If one writes a book for one’s business or nonprofit organization then self-publishing can be a sign of success. But to write a big challenging novel about big things and self-publish it is a sign that one is trying to wrap up one’s life’s work in a way that can make some sense and give humane dimensions to the misery of the hellish life one has lived. It is a rational effort to preserve some possibility of good and still be engaged in the present with the work that has consumed much of one’s past. But the company has a lot of appealing qualities and I am hopeful that we can hammer out the details and the novel can get a chance to sell at least a few legitimate copies.  It is not a prospect that excites euphoria and I am aware of more and more work on this endless project which does speak to many of my views about larger issues in the world,

But if in the end I am able to self-publish the novel along the lines that I have thus far negotiated then I will be happy to try to promote it within reason for the rest of my life and perhaps for the remainder of the life of this blog if it comes out while I still have a blog. For me the biggest  connection  of poetry with this crisis has been my spoof of Lying Eyes by the Eagles.

City girls just seem to find out early
How to open doors with just a smile
Wrap her hand and she won’t have to worry
She’ll dress up her face in the new style
Late at night a big old house gets lonely
I guess every form of refuge has its price
And it breaks her heart to think that there are only
A couple of items left for her to sanitize
So she tells her cat she must go out for the evening
To get supplies she knows are running down
The cat doesn’t know where she’s going as she’s leaving
She’s headed for the price-gouging side of town
You can’t hide your desperate eyes
And your smile behind a thin disguise.
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your desperate eyes.

On the other side of town a boy is waiting
With clorox wipes and bleach that he could steal
She drives on through the night anticipating
‘Cause he’ll make her house feel the way it used to feel
She rushes to his truck, they’re close together
She whispers that it’s only for a while
She swears that soon she’ll stay apart forever
She pulls away and leaves him with a smile
She gets home and pours herself a strong one
And stares out at the stars up in the sky
Another night it’s gonna be a long one
She draws the shade and hangs her head to cry
She wonders how it ever got this crazy
She thinks about the job she had at school
Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?
That job’s so far gone she feels just like a fool
My oh my, you sure know how to arrange things
You set it up so well, so carefully
Ain’t it funny how your new life sure did change things?
You try to be the girl you used to be
You can’t hide your cryin’ eyes
Your stock of tp is in demise.
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your cryin’ eyes
There ain’t no way to hide your cryin’ eyes

 

But even as i am struggling to reach the clam places where I do my best reading, I remain a person who has read a great deal. My life is a lot about reading and writing — but is not only about that.  I have spent a great deal of time on this blog. It is not entirely clear why I have done so but it is clear that I have pursued some causes and hobbies. I have also neglected some of these few areas that I am interested in beyond my own obligations day by day and year by year. There may never be a novel published which addresses my visions of what a responsible citizen of the the human race and Earth must deal with  — but I am working on it and I have spent real money as well as a vast amount of time on this project. The novel is much more complex than the current taste will support and there is no reason to believe that it will turn a huge profit as I have planned to release it but it is very important to me.

The Pandemic has felt like the best time so far to push to get this novel out in some form of publication before I die. But I am no going to discuss the details of the novel here. I am going discuss other literary works in this post and merely alert people that I hope to have a novel coming out soon.  It is a time to explore new aspects of the blog as we evolve into new manifestations of society, social distancing is something poets have dealt with.

Poets like Neruda have discussed why there is something special and worth noting about a man’s desire for and fondness for the woman too far away for him to touch. Many things good and bad can be said about love from afar. But Neruda simply attempts and honest contrast between love that is hot intense sex close at hand and the kind that brings a distant woman closer into his heart. It is a poem worth thinking about these days.

This blog is mostly in English but here is a Spanish Poem.

On the other hand we see the horrors that lurk in the pulling apart of people suggested in one of the most studied and analyzed poems in English. Do we allow this time to drive up ancient horrors suppressed by Christian civilization even more than recent decades have allowed such things? Do we allow the response to lose contact with the wiser minds that set the response in motion — like a falcon leaving its master and not returning? Do we hope mindlessly for some great fulfillment of prophetic potential like the second coming of Christ — when we ought to be seeking to avoid the cheap and tawdry catastrophes that may well beset us.

The Second Coming
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

n/a
Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

So what will the new world order that is emerging look like? How can new art in words help a better order to emerge? As always I leave more question to answer and resolve few questions at the end of thispost.

The Struggle to Deal with the Small Stuff in the Big Mess

There is a joy in doing good things and keeping them to yourself. However, there is not as much room in my life for the secret and sacred joys as there used to be. So I am going to tell the story of some good I was able to do in the midst of dealing with this corona virus pandemic. Maybe it will inspire other people to do good as well.

I am blessed to be able to work on this blog. The fact that I am blogging here indicates that a great number of aspects of my life and environment are still working. It is a time to have a perspective on the things that we are dealing with that transcends our sense of the urgent. I have had a lot of little challenges to deal with and I am a worrier by nature. I can abandon myself to an adventure if it is the right kind of adventure and I can bear up under suffering of certain kinds. But sitting at home alone this much makes me prone to think quite a bit about my aches, pains and frustrations. I do not lack for aches, pains and frustrations right now,

I recently was able to send some money to a friend in the Philippines who is suddenly quarantined with her extended family in their compound and only one has a real un-quarantined job. She explained all the reasons she was food insecure and with the help of my family in Family Missions Company and a little giving on my part we were able to get her some supplies and she in turn is adding the fruit of her garden and some of these staples in a smaller but really needed gift to the needy compounds on either side. That is about all   I myself can really do for the worldwide crisis.

When one considers the vast tragedy moving forward across the world these tiny efforts do not seem like much. I have also tried to bring attention to the bigger efforts of parties with greater resources. But the party involved not only acted responsibly for her own extended family but reached out to help  food insecure neighbors.  For me lately that is more success than I have been able to hope  for as a normal result — many of my efforts have been lost in various forms of chaos. So I was happy about that.

Now most readers will surmise that I do not have the gold standard of accountability and transparency in this  little bit of charity but I feel pretty good about it. In my last post I mentioned the gratitude that I sincerely feel to the federal governnment of the United States and its leaders for the help I have gotten. I am also grateful to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and the people at Louisiana Workforce  for the way they have expedited unemployment benefits so far. But I worry about whether I will get the benefits for as long into the program as I would like and think I should. I have a friend in a non profit who is worried about whether his CPA and lawyer will convince the governmemt that his organization is a federation of chapters each with less than 500 people and therefore eligible for payroll protection. If they are classed as a single monolithic organization then they will get nothing under the program he hopes will keep them afloat while they figure out what to do. Another friend is worried about whether he can qualify for his loan to be used for the most pressing needs his business has if does get a special SBA disaster loan. We all have anxieties about the wording and function of programs meant ot help in these tough times.

The media has done a pretty good job of showing how Americans are facing this crisis.  This morning CBS This Morning  featured someone doing good whom I had featured on my Facebook Profile earlier. You should be able to read that article from a local paper associated with Gannet  a major US newspaper publisher right here by clicking on the highlighted word. The CBS link showing Christine  and a few others doing their part should appear here. The story is the more meaningful because Christine Savoie is linked to the Acadian Museum to which I have been connected for quite some time.

But these activities and donations have involved very little of my time. Mostly, I have been involved in my own affairs. It has not been a time when I have been particularly distinguished by altruism.  There has been a good bit of anxiety, some depression and some physical pain. I seem quite able to fill most of my thoughts with my own needs and problems,

So the truth is that a lot of my mental energy is focused on myself. I am pretty involved in dealing with my own concerns. This blog has always been a kind of hybrid for documenting my own concerns and also discussing the various larger events that have caught my attention. Many of those unusual events have been crises of one kind or another. But this is a crisis of a different type.

The  truth is that we each came to this crisis with a set of problems and worries that already commanded our time and attention. I have projects I have invested enormous effort in that simply refuse to prosper and still are not prospering, I am lonely, I have missed windows of protocols and bureaucratic regulation on areas that affect my life and where I honestly do not think I could have done better. I am tired and lonely. But, as I try to deal with all the little stuff I try to be grateful for how little I have been hurt by the big crisis so far.

Riding Off Into the Sunset

This is a troubling time for the people and institutions who will endure but for many parts of society and many people it is farewell to the world of the living. Farewell to continuing existence in this reality. Musicians like Ellis Marsalis, Bill Withers, John Prine, Joe Diffie and the others we have been losing cannot be replaced. In American popular culture we have the concept  and film trope of heroes and cowboys riding off into the sunset. Many icons here and in other countries will be doing that here and now. There is too much of this kind of loss going on in the USA for me to even attempt to keep track of the same kinds of losses elsewhere.

Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels

I am sitting on my couch typing on this Easter Tuesday morning my arm is in a sling from hurting myself in me sleep. That happens about once a year and that is why I own a sling. Despite all the physical work I  do in a typical year it is usually a sleeping injury that puts me in this condition. I hope that you all are doing alright who are reading this. I am starting to show some signs of wear and tear. I am also aware of all of those who are leaving us in this pandemic. The losses of important influences seem to pile up more each day. But we also know that some of our world will stay the same and all of us have some ties to traditions and institutions forged in tough times.

 

This is a time for dealing with the fact that life is not ever likely to be quite the same after the pandemic.  My life has been about moving beyond  various phases for a long time. It has not been a wasted life but it has not been a life that has led to much solid success. But it does seem that familiar virtues lie the heroic dedication of health care workers facing disease and the generosity of people to charities are on view, I personally am grateful for the largess of the government of my country to the millions including me whose lives have been upended. I am grateful to President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for finding the way to work together. Today, I hurt my shoulder and have all the stress of the pandemic accentuated by my physical injury but I am not facing financial crisis yet because of Unemployment Insurance benefit expansion and the Economic Impact Payment. I am grateful to have this relief. There are many other people getting other benefits as employers, spouses and employers for which I am not eligible. But I am getting old and tired and am grateful to get my piece of the pie. Maybe I can survive this crisis with a semblance of having my life intact.

Earlier in this blog I spent a lot of pages on grandiose plans and proposals for reform and radical change. I am too tired and run down to think much about those failures. I just think mostly about my life as a series of moments, days and experiences that might make up a life’s work and journey that I am not ashamed to have traveled.

The images in mt mind may be a review of life just before it ends…

or a pause before the journey and the work resume,

Tonight I am noting but not yet reacting to the fact that the United States has stopped funding the WHO. I am noting but not yet reacting to the fact there are real breaks in the supply chain. I am noting but not yet reacting to the fact that I am struggling to deal with the prospect of extended isolation. I am noting but not yet reacting to the cost some errors a few people in my set of connections made just before the crisis that are now amplified by these events, I have not gotten around to thinking about what all these disparate thoughts mean when they are called into the same context.

I do have to say goodbye to the resumption of my school schedule, The Governor of Louisiana has indicated that the school year will not open in the normal sense again for this academic year. I am trying to figure out all the ins and outs of the pandemic for myself. Substitute teaching for the Vermilion Parish School Board has been part of my life and income for 8 of the last 20 years.

The journey of a person through the years of life is not ever all that simple. I have been remembering the low lights and  highlights of my life. In my own case, the world today is very interesting but also not much my concern. I am not so much looking to change anything as I a looking to set my house in order on the way off the stage. I am not even at all confident that I can do that effectively.

 

I still find the need to comment on the great events of the day, I still believe what I believe and surmise what I surmise.  I have never  been so incredibly sure that my time for the shaping of larger events has come largely to an end, For me the focus must be on my personal final chapter or two for the remainder of my time on this earth.

This sense of how a crisis could come suddenly was in my lecture at the LHA  annual meeting when I spoke about the Cajun response to 1930. A sense of sudden sweeping crisis  was present in  what I wrote in this blog  just before the election of Donald Trump. I wrote this as part of one of my last posts before I started letting this blog go without  even trying to keep it going.

Back in 1860 few if any Americans expected the cataclysm which was about to engulf the nation. Even once they conceded that war was a formal likely hood on paper and maybe probable on the field most Americans believed that if started it would end quickly with their side victorious. James Chestnut, South Carolina’s senator and the famous Confederate diarist Mary’s husband, offered to personally drink all the blood shed in the struggle. What happened was an all out clash of millions and an ordeal of years. William J. Cooper Jr.’s book, We Have the War Upon Us does a good job of capturing the sense of that precipice on which America stood. Perhaps the most important lesson to learn from the last year or so before the actual shooting started is how unexpected it seemed to so many.

There is no way to reach any really clear assessment of the Obama Presidency just yet. He may have saved us from a Great Depression, maybe not. He may have done much better in the War on Terror than his predecessor who allowed the attacks on 9/11 which changed us so much. Or he may be responsible for disasters which have engulfed Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, Israel, Libya and Tunisia and other countries in a struggle which will endure for generations. He may have solved the fundamental problems of our healthcare crisis or he may have plunged us deeper into a new healthcare crisis. Certainly there will be no answers that satisfy those who are the most demanding observers and analysts right now. But the election is not in fifty or a hundred years. The election of the next President of the United States is Tuesday. There were fewer prominent Democrats on my ballot than I ever remember seeing in so many races and I usually vote for at least a few Democrats but this time I voted almost entirely for Republicans. However, I did vote for Chris Keniston for President of the United States. His Veterans Party will not take the White House however. So who will take it? Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will almost certainly take the Presidency. I am not happy with who we leave behind nor either option to which we now proceed. But I do hope that we will have a peaceful transition to a new administration.

Tonight, I am responsive to who I always was but I want arrange record and prepare for my relatively near exit. I do not want to jump much into the fray that matters, I am tired and the sky shows many signs of sunset.

Easter Sunday and New Starts

Maybe this is the most globally relevant Easter of my life. There are few times in history when more of the world has been hoping for a deliverance, a triumph over death and a coming forth from a sealed place of inactivity. But it is a time when I am not going to church and millions of others with whom I am connected are not going to church.

Christ is risen. I watched mass from New York, cooked nice food but not to share. Had a chocolate bunny my Mom managed to get to me in the restrictions of  the pandemic semi-quarantine. Exchanged Easter greetings with many. It was not a bad day, a little sad. But the big news of the day is how much the celebration of Easter has been interrupted. The image of the church below was taken by me but not today. I have not left the house  and yard where I live today.

Donors Dinner 2014 -- cameraphone 058

The St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church Where I was baptized, made my First Communion and was wed.

 

Here we are at a place to remember Easter differently. Links to my home Parish mass are available on their website and a link to one of the hymns from the streamed social distancing Easter Liturgy is available   here . I am also aware that my family members in some numbers went to Easter Praise in the Pasture on our family farm where families were kept at least five to six yards apart. I was not invited and really have done less and less religious stuff each year — I do not know if I would have gone. Probably not. I would have been my own cluster. Really the holidays can be a sad time every  year and this year is sad in a more universal way. So I must say that as we all struggle with this great pandemic we have to know that this is a struggle for a new life. Just as the Resurrected Christ was always known by all Christians to be different than a continuation of the historical Jesus of Nazareth  who shared our human condition, in the same way what is born after surviving a crisis like this is always somehow new. We must try to make the reality that comes out of this better in some way. Right now I deal fully engaged in just trying to survive the current crisis and be in a position to continue what I already found to be a life that was often more bitter than sweet and more troubled and frustrating than peaceful and hopeful.

Christ Rises to a New Life

I am aware of all the suffering and know that I too may fall to this virus before all is over. But I am aware that I have to think most about coming out of this able to meet the demands of the new normal whatever they are. In this passage there is the Easter holiday and that is today. Let us praise as best we each can. Let us find the Alleluia we can sing. Easter on Earth was never about perfection for us but about rejoicing in a promise of which we had a great mysterious sign.

So may this spring be a season of new life and hope for us.

Quarantine and Coping in the Life of Outlier

On this Good Friday, the world is in a very different place. We are in the midst of a terrible crisis that cannot be ignored even for a major holiday. The future is not entirely certain but it is certain that the present is greatly influenced by a single fact of the Covid -19 Pandemic. How much has this affected those who may still read this blog.

But no matter what the current situation of the readers of this little blog  we all know that many others have been affected. I am certainly one of those who has been affected. Everyone I talk to has been affected. It is in this context that we face this holiday. I tried to think a bit about it out loud on Facebook today. 

I believe that there will be a great deal of time to think about this Good Friday if I continue to exist in time. There is not much chance that it will blend in. The connection of this trauma to the trauma of Christ seems real enough.

art cathedral christ christian

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I think that I am operating in the overly casual and isolated style of a lot of people during this time. I hope that I am relating properly to the whole experience and that the future will show that some of the Paschal mystery has had some effect on me.

It has been a challenge to process all the things on my mind this year. It is also typical of my posts that I try to take in a lot more than one topic.  Here is one of them. The blog itself.

This is Good Friday. It is part of the Easter Triduum. That is the  Holiest part of the traditional Christian calendar. It is not the only form of ritual, gathering and community that we will miss during these days of quarantine. Until recently, I have been away from this blog for a while. But the blog is not about sitting at home alone. I was created in large part by sitting home alone but it is not about that.  Today I will not make the way of the cross I will not go to the drive through memorial service for Dr. Ray Authement who has died. He was the President who dressed me in the symbolic regalia when I was honored as Outstanding Graduate in the USL 1989 Commencement Exercises.

I am trying to honor the Death memorial of Jesus Christ in my own way but it is not what I wish it was as far as keeping Good Friday goes.  My cousin Bill Massey is now a priest and Saint Anne’s church and on his website for that church he has many video links but he also has this religious service which he led posted on SoundCloud. It is the best use of my day perhaps to point to other observations of the occasion. Last year as I presented a lecture at the Louisiana Historical Association annual meeting with two others on a panel I spoke of a year of Global crisis in 1930 and I used the writing s of a priest  from Mamou as one of my sources. That has been on my mind throughout this crisis. Good Friday makes it more real.

 

 

The Catholic celebrations which are so much a part of my heritage. Have passed more into the lives of others in my family and less into my own life. But this year I feel akin to all those who feel a bit outside the center of things and connected as well.

Return to Acadie

I am still trying to find my way through all of the suffering and death surrounding me. I am blessed that it has not yet affected me more than it has. before it is over I may feel more connected to the suffering and death of this day’s tradition. But since I left this blog my world has narrowed in many ways and I am mostly concerned with small matters around me.  However any of you are dealing with this  I truly wish you well.

 

The Covid 19 Pandemic: just a glimpse from my life

This is a long note about the pandemic in the style of my long rambling and personal notes. We all know there is a value in avoiding this kind of thing so I will start with twelve actions I support. Most people will be better off if we could or can do these things,
I strongly support and to some degree propose the following approach to Covid-19.
  1. Washing hands frequently.
  2. Maintaining greater than the CDC six-foot minimum physical distance between people whenever possible.
  3. Avoiding physical group gatherings where possible.
  4. Getting sunlight and fresh air and airing out your house when you can avoid people nearby.
  5. Wearing a mask when you can be careful, use a disinfected mask and find ways to preserve public safety.
  6. Carrying and over using surface disinfectant and hand sanitizer. Doing your laundry well and more often than usual, showering often and keeping your house clean.
  7. Examining one’s finances, insurance, pantry and other resources as objectively as possible and making a plan and budget.
  8. Tell your loved ones that you care about them. Channel positive energy and pray for others.
  9. Turning to online resources to establish emotional and relational support systems.
  10. Keeping up a balanced life where possible. Exercise, eat. sleep. play, pray, think etc.
  11. Try to support your government’s, company’s, church’s program for surviving this crisis.
  12. Monitor your own health and the news about the crisis.
  13. Try to support health care professionals and facilities.
  14. Respect and support essential workers.
But however anyone may feel about these ideas these are not the main reasons I am writing. I am sharing my own experience and perspective.
I have not said much at length or in a very personal vein about the Coronavirus Pandemic yet. So far on Facebook, I have liked other people’s posts. I have passed on valuable information from key sites and I have made jokes about this horrific situation which are particular to my own experience. But I have yet to write at any length about the pandemic or its causes, likely effects or what it will be like to complete the journey through this process.
I am concerned about my Dad, who although young to be my father by modern American standards is still old enough that I was born more than a year after he got married and he was in post baccalaureate studies at the time. He is a multiple cancer survivor and has chronic lung disease. I am concerned about my Mom who is very resilient but has had two moderately severe traumas in recent years and is diabetic. I am concerned about my brother Simon with many special needs. I am concerned about my niece Esme with a rare variant of cystic fibrosis. I am concerned about a lot of other people in America as America rolls through this version of the worldwide nightmare. I am also concerned for friends and associates abroad in many other countries.
Some of you might be afraid, for yourselves and not be eager to admit it. I can relate to that sense of apprehension pretty well. The virus plays into my own fears, the fear of drowning and choking to death by myself or at least away from a loving known person is easy for me to understand. I had several bouts under a croup tent as a small child and suffered from mild childhood asthma and chronic shortness of breath, I loved to be in the water and had a number of near drownings. When I fell one of two times and broke my arm as a kid ( that time rough housing in a tree) the immediate pain was actually less than the shock of having the breath knocked out of me. I invested a lot of my life into family and extended family, Christian ministry and church life and the world of marriage and romance. All of those things have to do in no small part with the idea that one does not want to die alone and be buried alone after leaving a period of social isolation.
Males are twice as likely to die of this as females. I am close to 56 and have never been as resilient as some. In addition, I have smoked, lived in dense air pollution, cleaned with bad fuming chemicals a good bit, had childhood respiratory illness and I still engaged in some activity outside the home which is considered essential. One of those activities is to donate plasma. I get a free to me health screening twice a week there and they work hard to keep the place sanitary but because I am older than average and because it takes a long time it is probably one of my biggest risks as I am avoiding any other groups whatsoever except online or when I get stuck in an occasional line in a shop. I have been donating regularly for a while now and I believe it is kind of like a lot of things, every donation keeps people alive although I do not know that I personally am saving all that many lives and am aware that there may be a time when I am unable to do it. Plasma donors also contribute source plasma which has a value of about $1500 per donation when it is certified out of the collection center and their time, and their risk in time like these and the pain of the process and lowering their own immunity. Donors also agree to waive most risks including a small risk of death from
a particular type of equipment failure or other rare event. In return for all of this donors get whatever good effects plasma donation may stimulate (almost unstudied), some health monitoring and a sense of community. Donors also get some financial compensation greater than the out of pocket cost and generally that money has gotten favorable tax and regulatory treatment. I used to donate blood a great deal and only got a cookie or a tee shirt. But nobody ever died of an air bubble from a blood donation. People do die of such accidents in plasma donation and my guess is that those events are not much reported. Thousands of people donate safely each day but that never drops the risk to zero. So plasma donation is what it is for as long as it is.
Beyond that outing twice a week, I do try to stay home. But, I am not idle. I am fully engaged in coping with the challenges of my own life since I was subbing at Abbeville High School on March 13 and the announcement came out that the Governor had closed the schools till April 13. By the end of the day the Vermilion Parish School Board had closed the schools till April 20,2020 on the grounds that the Governor’s action brought the closure into our spring break in this parish. That seems an innocent little interlude now. But it was a big deal when it was announced. I was glad to have the chance to study on Monday and catch up on Wednesday because on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. I had my Life, Health and Accident Insurance Producer Licensing Test in Metarie. I passed the test. But Metarie was shutting down quite a bit between the time I arrived on Monday and drove home straight from the test on Tuesday afternoon. I have been working with a great company with a view to representing them in this industry but despite a supportive recruiting sales manager there have been complications caused by the pandemic. As of this time the final papers have not been signed. I hope to let you know when they are signed according to the policies of the company. Which I do not fully know. Regardless, I studied and passed my test in a stressful time. I am not yet fully employed but I have my license and am eager to help people meet insurance and retirement needs as the world crisis evolves. I had a license years ago but never tried to sell insurance and let the license lapse. But I think the work matters. Insurance is just as relevant now as it ever was…
I am proud of what family and friends are doing and I wish that I was doing more for them. Isolation is hard. I am proud of what much of the Catholic Church is doing — although I am a less devout Catholic than I used to be. I am proud of what many institutions and groups I have been part of are trying to do. But these are very bad times. We are a long way from out of the woods. I feel that this is the crisis of my life so far. Maybe it is not, but we can only act by the light we have.