Community 

Having voted early, we were on a plane on Election Day. It was a little scary as the flight was full and the pandemic rising. Normally, we are avid travelers, yet this year,  we haven’t flown since the virus raged in.  Previously, we had an interesting morning getting our negative Covid tests at a disused Sears in a nearby city.  Every two years I have a battery of tests done to establish if my condition is worsening. I’d cancelled the appointment six months earlier and with Covid levels on the rise wondered if it would be any safer in a further six months. In spite of having many friends and family in the area, we didn’t see anyone with the exception of my daughter and the man she has grown close with over the last year or so since we were last together. Given the restrictions, the best we could do was to have take-out at two little tables in our hotel lobby. We arranged the chairs to be far apart,  and they arrived like gangsters dutifully wearing their masks.  Of course, we had a wonderful time, laughing, swapping stories and getting to know the young man  who’s captured my daughter’s attention and perhaps her heart.  At the appointment the following day, the news was good! On the potentially perilous flight home, I couldn’t help but reflect on how we’ve been cheated of so much by this virus, even those of us who’ve stayed healthy.

As the weirdest Thanksgiving approaches, it reminds us we have been deprived of normal family life. Like me, you may have relatives you haven’t seen in over a year. Will I be safe to travel to the UK next spring to celebrate my mother’s ninetieth birthday with her?  It seems unlikely. Funerals and weddings and other family events have all been compromised. And beyond the major occasions, many of us are grieving the loss of everydayl community.  A former yoga teacher of mine sent out a group email to his students that resonated.  I have his permission to share what he said,

“How is your new grandchild, your puppy, can you still dance on Sundays?, your cottage, your training for the marathon, your new job, your retirement, your sailboat, your plan to walk a chunk of the Appalachian trail, your fundraiser, your classes, your students. What is the plan for your students for the fall, your painting, your weaving, your beautiful art, your photography, your law practice, school, campaign, non profit, your new car, your old classic car, your daughters’ TV show, your weightlifting, your book, your back, your new hip, your new knee, your new home, your new RV, your camp up north, your spot on the lake, your gardens, your flowers, your scarlet runner beans should be almost ready for next years vines? your old cat, your volunteer work, how was your hummingbird season? your parents, your brother, your sister, your music, your Cape Cod cottage, your speaking schedule, your theatre, any performances planned?” 

I hadn’t realized how much I miss the small events of our ordinary lives until John pointed it out.  Maybe when these “unprecedented times” finally return to something closer to “precedented times,” I won’t take them so much for granted. Many little joys to be grateful for this quiet Thanksgiving.

Runner Beans - Community

To learn more about John, visit johncalabria.com/snailsjourney/

ps John shared that many in his yoga community grow scarlet runner beans. They share the seeds that now grow across the country and overseas.

End Notes

Reading

The Fishermen Chigozie Obioma

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

Listening

The Sonambulist from Les Enfants Terrible suite by Philip Glass

Stephane Grappelli How High the Moon

Viewing

The Queens Gambit – Netflix

Poetry

Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

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