Letter from the Vineyard 22 April 2020 “Like a Stephen King Novel…”

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It is Earth Day; on the Vineyard the sun cuts a perfect rectangle on the living room floor, outside, a tree bending wind blows, air clear, crisp, colder in feel than temp, a day not to be caught outside without gloves or hat but a day to thrust oneself into, especially as it follows grey day after grey day, even with a brief break, the memory of is grey.  How could it be different, as we huddle inside, prisoners of an enemy we cannot see, who many seem to want to deny?  Oh, those Nazis, not so bad, really.

Days blend into each other these days in ways they never have before; last Wednesday I woke, convinced it was Sunday, prepared to watch services from St. Andrew’s on its YouTube channel, glanced at my phone, realized it was Wednesday.  How did that happen?

We are all, I suspect, experiencing a sense of disorientation in this time of quarantine.  Obviously, I am.  My phone has become my anchor as it tells me day and time; tethering me to this unreal reality. There is either too much or too little reality to be had.

Right now, without doubt, the most trusted man in America is Anthony Fauci, the 79-year-old who runs NIAID; who politely corrects the president when he strays across lines of truth, making him a sitting duck the way the administration handles things.  When the White House said they were in support of him, pundits pointed out that’s usually the kiss of death.  Please god, no.

It can be said without understatement, these have been mind-spinning days; many feeling we are living a Stephen King novel, unable to close the book, no way to stop the terror.

Speaking at least for myself, emotions are on edge, as they were after 9/11.  This time, I’m not jumping at loud noises though I do, as then, find tears coming unexpectedly; yesterday, as I heard Governor Baker announce schools would not be reopening next year: tears, a stifled sob. He specifically mentioned seniors, who would not have their rights of passages; I so remember those from high school and college, transitions denied the class of 2020.  My heart ached.

Coronavirus is stealing many transitions from us.  People are dying alone as hospitals won’t let relatives in. The best a conscious person can hope for is FaceTime or a distant voice down a phone line. They help; it’s not the same as holding someone’s hand.

Georgia’s Governor Kemp is about to throw open his state for business, this the Governor who didn’t know asymptomatic people could transfer the disease when that had been known for weeks.  A model used by the White House suggests Georgia won’t be ready until mid-June.  If I recall correctly, massage parlors can re-open.  What could go wrong there? I’m sure Kemp knows something we don’t. Absolutely sure.  Not.

Massachusetts has become one of the hottest “hot” spots for this disease, which performs so differently than others.  Deceased patients are discovered to have their lungs filled with small clots; its pneumonia attacking in a way different from other versions; people feeling pretty good when their oxygen levels indicate they should be dead, which often they soon are.

It is possible 40% of the people in the world infected with coronavirus stay asymptomatic.  Which is why opening a state for business now seems so risky.  45,000 + have died in the U.S.  The toll is likely twice that.  We won’t know a good guess until we are on the other side, when medical mathematicians crunch the numbers, as they do every year with the flu.

I’ve seen a survey saying 31% of Americans are drinking more; 41% smoking more marijuana.  I am not in the least surprised; I would have thought more.  We are seeking release; video streaming is going through the roof.  Personally, I have started woofing down period dramas, begun reading mysteries set in the past.  [PBS’ “World on Fire,” is not bad.]

The internet provides wonderful interludes.  The picture at the top is a glance at the universe from the Hubble telescope on one of my birthdays.  To see the universe on yours, go to this link. Enjoy; stay safe.  Please.

https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/what-did-hubble-see-on-your-birthday

 

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