There truly is no time like the present.
I put up a sign in the bedroom that tells me, "Today." It's today, and that is all.
Today, my spirit is filled up. Full of awe, humility, and so much gratefulness I can't even begin to express it, for all of you who run out, even while we're all being urged to run in, to stay in. You, millions of you, yes, around the globe, are risking your lives for me, for us.
Can I even take that in, what that is? I try.
I thought about it keenly at the beginning - did this time have a real beginning, anyway - as my medical doctor daughter prepared for, was dreading, the onslaught of desperately sick patients in her hospital. I was terrified, for her and her partner, facing potentially deadly risk.
Given where she lives and gives medical care, rural bush Alaska, with its tiny planes taking her to deliver babies, I am often scared by the risks that are just part of the job, her job.
But this, this threat was a whole different animal. An entirely grim scenario.
Concern for Kaia led me to concern about every doctor and nurse, and the medical teams who are risking it all to try to save the rest of us. The phlebotomist who must draw my blood, still, and the technician who has to culture urine, and the housekeeping department that bleaches every surface several times a day. It is worse than sobering every time we're told of a doctor who has died, nurses and other medical staff who have died, lacking protective coverings.
And food people - my cousin who manages a huge grocery store, is on the line every day. Exposed. So we can eat. The pharmacists who keep my life-saving medicines coming on time, and the banker who helped us, had to be face-to-face to confirm our identity, stop bank fraud on our account. Truck drivers. EMT's. Fire-fighters. "Essential workers."
Fireworks, flyovers, singing and clapping and, in Denver, howling are our only way to say, well, what to say. Thank You doesn't come close. But that's what I've got for now. Honor. How to express that, I will keep looking for ways.
Celebrating May Day might just be a good start. Celebrating this gift we're given: of life, creating life, renewing life, giving life, starting a life honors the women and men who fight for life all day every day.
So, again, today, my heart is full. It's May Day, an ancient moment for sensual awakening, as the ground was opened up, and the smells of humus, rich soil, good old dirt, "earth smell" stirred up thirsty spirits.
Sunny, our dog, certainly takes notice! He's been in high alert sniff mode now for weeks, as the ground gives up its secrets, oh, what he smells, I rather wish I knew. Earth smells. He loves to just lie down in the greening grass, then roll around wildly in it. I'm pretty sure he's feeling the joy of life reaching out to life.
In ancient times, May Day was a wildly sensual time, also of much rolling around, life reaching out to life, to celebrate and make new life. This was the holiday to revel in hope, to hold onto life lightly and joyfully, to take it in, claiming the promise of a new growing season, for abundance in fields and gardens and mother's rounding bellies, for hearty healthy crops and babies to be born, for plenty of food in the Fall, when the lands are harvested, just before they go underground to regroup. And a time for creating life, children yet to be born, creating the future.
I wonder if any of that old pre-conscious unconscious was nudging us toward hope of our own new season, of Opening, coming out -- apart, of course, from the obvious sense of urgency about getting folks back to paychecks, and the meta-issues of economic recovery.
Nevertheless, it's not time. It's not yet time for this to be declared 'over.' There is no time like the present, a time out of mind. No precedent, not in any modern times. There are sobering lessons, from 1918, from places now that have already opened too early and now see the cost. Unlike the rich soil, it is not our time to be Opened.
My heart is also full this day, of empathy and compassion for suffering souls, those who are fighting, fearing, for those who are grieving in the most unworldly way we've ever known. We will dishonor those who risk everything, and those who have died, those left to grieve, if we race off to some weirdly unpredictable 'finish line.'
The restrictions on Opening are heartening, good counsel. But as for us, we'll be "safer at home," as we continue to "shelter at home." And be grateful we can.
My hair is hideous. But not worth playing Russian roulette.
As it is May Day, I am aware that some are still pleading for great caution and sounding the alarm. "May Day! May Day!" I am going to give heed and make this First of May about honoring the workers, whose day this also is. Those workers who are desperate for paychecks will have to go out, when they would rather stay in. How can our hearts not go out to them. It seems fit to honor their sacrifice too, now, and keep flattening the curve, to save them from us, the undiagnosed, untested, walking viruses.
What a bundle of thoughts, images, realities today brings. I am also aware that all of this together, overwhelming, is 'just' Today. Tomorrow will be a new Today. And, so it goes.