Letter from the Vineyard 10 April 2021 Musings on our times…

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“Nice gray day. — with Maryam” by Robert Scoble is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Letter from the Vineyard 04 10 2021 Musings on our time…

Last Sunday was born gray; fine with me.  I had nowhere to go, little to do, except pleasant things.  Still forty pages from finishing my book club’s read, “This Tender Land,” I needed to do that.  Scratching an itch I’ve had for weeks, I made myself an old fashioned pot roast for Sunday dinner.  Reading, cooking, seemed pretty perfect ways to slough through a gray day; at one point in the afternoon, reading with a throw over me, feeling all hygge, the skies opened and bucketed down.

In the way of the pandemic time, book group met via Zoom, the way everyone meets these days.  While waiting for everyone to join, our chat got to meeting in person, which would be hard to do because we’re not all in the same state, though in the same time zone.  Zoom lets this book group work.

The impulse to be together, in physical togetherness, is growing.  A lady in the bookstore was euphoric; two weeks post second “jab,” she and her husband were on their way to California to see their son, his wife, their children.  I get it.  We want out.

Me? Most days, I am in the bookstore, interacting from a safe distance, face masked, with book interested people.  Am I ready to pull down my mask in other situations?  I don’t know yet. And I don’t know when I will feel okay to do that.

The last year has given me a settled rhythm, enough interaction to keep me going, a willingness to subsist on my own cooking [which is not bad], and to keep myself better company than I have ever in my life.

So, in many respects, this last year has not been a bad year.  If I don’t count that nagging worry that I might not be alive at the other end.  

More than a half million of us aren’t.  Staggering. I don’t want to forget those who died as we crawl out the other side, not wanting us to do the thing we do well, putting the past behind us, forgetting what has been, rejoicing for what is now.

Delayed grief is grief denied.  

We have seen it all this year.  While cowered by the pandemic, the cruelty of centuries found its way to the light of day. 

George Floyd, dead now almost a year, a harrowing trial of his alleged killer happening; Breonna Taylor, dead almost a year.  The people in Boulder, not dead three weeks.  Nor those in Atlanta.

This past summer, the bookstore needed a section devoted to civil rights; a small section before all this which grew exponentially as good people grappled with their consciences about the treatment of African Americans, grown now to know that treatment extends to anyone not white.  Atlanta began to teach us, again, about our treatment of AAPI individuals.

“This Tender Land” reinforced my realizations regarding treatment of Native Americans.

My goodness, we have a moral quandary, right here in River City.

Every country, I suspect, is being forced in these parlous times to deal with their own moral issues.  America has quite a few – slavery, mistreatment of Native Americans, Jim Crow, treating every new wave of immigrant as less than…

The United Kingdom, France…  Well, they’re dealing with what their old dreams of empire are bringing now. 

Not much different in many ways than with what we’re dealing.

Race, social and income inequity, laid so awfully bare this past year, our riven health care system, best in the world in many ways but mid-rank in terms of results, a fractured political scene, scary no matter how you look at – a bigger far right movement than we want to admit.

Don’t know about you.  I get the feeling we’ve strayed from being the city on the hill, the beacon we thought we were.

Time for repair work, don’t you think? And not just roads and rails; we have some social infrastructure building needed.


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