I am thinking about the awakening and the fear. The awakening is neighbors who are normally too busy to connect, the family members too busy rushing this way and that who are now connecting. Listening. Caring. Hoping. Wondering.
I wheeled out the trash tonight, noticed my neighbors, a couple sitting side by side on patio chairs on the edge of our dead-end road sipping beers. Turns out they were talking across the street to another “couple” of neighbors, who I had never met, who’d fled their New York dwelling for fresh air in Jamestown. The four of them were quietly celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Due to the crisis, I now know Elizabeth, and the baby strapped to her belly, and JD. And, to round things out, young Thaddeus, 4, worked his two-wheeler using the full recycling bin as a turnaround. Good practice. There we were, neighbors in the street keeping our distance, getting to know each other, sharing our thoughts.
Me, explaining the awakening I’ve noticed in friends, families and colleagues. Quadruple the amount of people I saw in the woods this Sunday, especially families, compared to a week ago Sunday. And just the way colleagues seem to be listening on calls. Paying attention. A little stiller. The underlying fear, or wonder, how will we be impacted financially? This is where the rubber will meet the road. Will panic and selfishness tear us apart as the quarantine stifles movement and supplies; or we will come together and support each other in a way that transcends economics and politics? What kind of America are we?
Our street conversation turned to an offer my new New York neighbor had to hole up in an outpost in western Pennsylvania with a survivalist. There was talk of a mountain near Colorado Springs which serves as headquarters in the time of crisis. How the military and other government leaders break into smaller groups to spread leadership and intelligence around to prevent one “strike” taking out our tactical resources. There was talk of fishing and farming. I bid adieu, went back into the house where Mary was on a video chat with a flock of female relatives-daughter, sister, nieces, sister-in-law. My brother called from Pennsylvania and we talked for 40-plus minutes about family, fear, games and what lies ahead. Mary was still on with the girls when I re-entered the room.
Hang in there. Reach out. Spread love. Share your gifts. Give a ring.