As Things Seem Today

3-31-2020

I’ve found during the past few weeks that it’s been harder to focus, to stay connected as close to things as it was before. Life at times seems a blur, or perhaps it’s more like a vague dream that I want to forget. But when I stop to mindfully consider other matters, they stand out crystal clear.

A week back, I wrote about the sight and sounds of two small birds that had latched onto my brain and glued my attention tightly to them. They seemed to have no cares other than filling their part of the world with the joy of a beautiful song. Then there was a second event of serendipity. I came upon a YouTube video of a Nurnberg flashmob in 2014 playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. I remembered back to 1971 when I first heard the beautiful piece just after returning from Vietnam. My happiness at being home with my family and hearing that music had made me cry. Today in these trying times, each night before I retire, I put on my headphones, watch and listen to that YouTube video. Yes, each time I watch it, I again cry. I cry because of the joy of the music, but also at the joy of seeing the musicians and the crowd gathered to witness it. There is no other word to describe it other than JOY.

Yesterday Suzanne and I hiked at Catalina State Park. Hiking is something we’ve taken to doing twice a week as this self-imposed isolation has become our routine. Only after the first few yards of our hike, I spotted a bobcat making its way through a field. He or she seemed to have no concern about us or Coronavirus. The animal seemed to be only enjoying the warmth of the sun and softness of the earth beneath its paws. The animal stopped a couple of times to glance back at us as it made its way to its desired destination.

Later I wondered why we seem to live our lives as we do. Why do we fret, complain, curse and rage against those things we cannot change? Why do we pay more attention to a fancy $100,000 sports car than we do to a desert poppy? Why do we whine about not being able to go into Chili’s and have a steak when millions go to bed each night with nothing to eat? Why do we wait until we fear possible impending death before we decide to live?

I have come to better see the value of my friends and family. I must confess that in part it’s because I suddenly can’t be close to them. I can’t hug them or shake their hands. When millions now worry about jobs and paying rent, I catch myself being grateful that I don’t have that worry. The little dog that I love seems more friendly today. The sky seems more open and spacious. The touch of Suzanne’s hand on my shoulder seems more precious. The sight of a hawk more exciting.

Take care, be safe and the best to all.  David.

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