I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Destiny and 2020


Another snagged photo

I am enamoured with Rita Eberle-Wessner's shots of light coming through forest trees. I've used a couple of her other shots, too, to begin a post. She's able to capture what I feel in my heart so often these days. A feeling that there must be a day when the light will emerge and open up our grey and listless world into a new dawn.

With the pandemic on one side, keeping us separated and in misery as we move through the months of lockdown (not everyone, but most of us) to avoid getting the virus or spreading it to vulnerable others, it's easy to forget that these times will pass. It feels like it's been going on for ages, but it's not even been a year yet. There is no doubt that we will look back on the year 2020 as one of the most difficult ones that the US has endured. We are now leading the world in deaths by percentage of population, with almost 300,000 Americans already dead and being months away from a vaccine distributed to vulnerable populations. It's a staggeringly scary statistic. Sometimes I get really discouraged and wish I could move to a country that has a more reasonable government. But where? Canada, just a few miles from here, is doing so very much better. But the border is closed: they don't want us to infect them with our belief that it's our right not to wear masks or distance ourselves from others.

I say that, but it's not what most of us think is right. I am so happy to live in a state with mandates that help to protect others, as well as ourselves. I just read yesterday that Iowa, a state in the middle of the country, has a 50% positivity rate. In other words, half of of the population tested for the virus has it. Now that's really scary!

But all this is not what I intended to say in today's post. What I'm getting to, eventually, is that we are not alone in this pandemic; the entire world is working to get it under control. All I can do is my own little part, and that is all any of us can do. I am part of the vulnerable populations, being in my seventies, and even with no underlying conditions, it's possible for me to die from it. Although I think I might have already had it, the case was a mild one and might not be protective. I'll get the vaccine as soon as I get a chance to, not because I am so afraid of the virus, but because I'm afraid of giving it to others unknowingly.

One of my friends has decided that the year 2020 has been awful enough that whenever anything bad happens to a friend, she says they got "2020ed." And of course most of us have seen that image of a hand spelling out "2020" with its middle finger showing what many of us think about this year. I sure hope the coming year, 2021, will be a better one. With the vaccine available coming in a few months, it should be a better outcome for the world.

Do you believe in destiny? It is defined as "the events that will happen to a particular person or thing in the future." Sometimes I think I know what will happen in a particular instance, and I'm usually wrong. Things flow from events and often take a turn that I never expected. It happens to all of us. And in the case of our current situation in the world, I really have very little idea of how things will look when we get to the other side. One thing I am fairly confident of, it won't look like the time before 2020. We will all be altered in one way or another. That fact makes me happy, because it means we can be somehow better, more connected, more caring about our friends and family. When you lose something precious, it makes you realize not only what you had, but how you might keep yourself from greater loss.

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself. —Walter Anderson

I had an epiphany the other day: I realized that the events shaping our world right now are perhaps aligning themselves for a larger purpose. Maybe we are being guided and just don't know it. Sometimes I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, that a sea change is about to happen. There is only one way to know if it's true, and that's to be able to look ahead into the future. Since I cannot do that, I can only hope it's true. If I am fortunate enough to live until then, that is. 

You know what? I'm just riffing right now looking for some way to end this post. It didn't come out like I hoped, and I truly just wanted to give you, my dear readers, something light to think about and brighten your day. Instead, it's been a bit of a slog, and I apologize for that. Sitting down to write on a Sunday morning doesn't always turn out the way I hope it will, but I'm always a bit more centered after the attempt. Unfortunately for you, it might not be very coherent. Sorry about that. Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't.

In any event, the day is calling me to get out of bed, with my dear partner still sleeping next to me, and see if I can find a better start to my day. I have coffee to drink, friends and their conversation to enjoy, even through a mask, and hope for better days ahead. 2020 is almost over! Whatever you do with yourself between now and next Sunday, I hope it will increase your happiness and give some light to the world. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things.


Linda Reeder said...

After reading this post, I am even more aware of how much easier it is for introverts than extroverts right now. You are missing so much of your former, pre 2020, life and I am relatively content. Oh, right now I am missing not being able to go on our Christmas shop field trip with friends, and the light displays I love are cancelled. There will be no Becky's brunch, and no entertaining of friends here at home. But we decorated anyway, just for us. Hopefully our immediate family will be joining us several times. Cookie baking is still a go. We'll find joy where we can. I know you will to.
Let your heart be light.

gigi-hawaii said...

I like that photo, too, thanks for sharing. Your musings on Sunday are very enlightening. I do hope that the vaccine will end the dying and the grieving.

Elephant's Child said...

That is a truly beautiful photo.
I always look forward to your Sunday musings and you never, ever disappoint me. I hope (a lot) that we have a sea change and a tsunami of kindness and compassion spreads across the world - and there are already encouraging signs that it will.

ApacheDug said...

DJan, don’t apologize for your honesty. I just enjoy (and appreciate) reading what you have to say. Your photo of light thru the trees, I think it’s a good representation of the end of 2020 for a multitude of reasons, both personal and nationwide. At least for many of us, there’s a feeling of real hope again. Those vaccines, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris... they can’t get here soon enough. I hope your week ahead is full of promise.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Some days are just hard...it is hard to stay isolated, it is hard to see good in the future...especially the political future if you get my drift, it is hard to see the covid death numbers go up and so many people not caring to wear masks. I hope those people from Iowa stay out of Minnesota. It is hard to be separated from our friends and family. Having blog friends that understand is a good thing...so there is light shining through the trees:) Hope you have a good week.

Rian said...

I like that pic too, DJan... every time I see something like that in real life I think 'yes, I know it's you' (not necessarily referring to anyone or Anyone in particular - but to SOMEONE OR SOMETHING GOOD). Does that make sense? (it does to me)
As for the year 2020... it's not over yet, and may sadly drag into 2021. DH and I are in our middle 70's and both have/had cancer which may or may not affect our immune systems, but we aren't taking any chances. We follow the guidelines and our own common sense. Hopefully it will be enough.
But I too find that now that the election is over and even though the virus is spiking everywhere, that I have HOPE that we will beat this thing - that the world will beat this thing! (but sadly we have lost so many... and I don't know how to make that better)

Susan Sawatzky said...

John VW put me in touch with your writing so I'm a new reader of your blog. Reading back through time gives me a tiny sense of you.

I don't think I believe in destiny. I'm not sure I even believe we have a particular purpose. After the events of the last year I'm less sure of anything than I used to be when young.

I lost my dear partner in 2012 and have been alone since then. It is difficult even as an introvert to go this long without human contact. John has been a live saver. We Skype and just talking to someone about nothing in particular, someone who smiles and appears happy makes the time pass more easily.

Anvilcloud said...

Posts do sometimes go their own way.

Gigi said...

Anvilcloud beat me to it - sometimes you start in one place and end up somewhere else entirely. There are rumors that our governor is considering locking things down again. Sadly, I think that's they only way to get people to do what's right.

Have a great week!

Arkansas Patti said...

Love that photo also. Somehow the light coming through makes me think that such a thing is coming into our lives. This year has been a beast but I do believe once we get past this month, things will turn for the better. Most of us have done what we could to save family and strangers from contagion with the tools provided. Those who refused to care are the ones I feel sorry for.

Red said...

Mostly we have to take each day as it comes and then there are some things that are in our control. Now before you get your hopes up, Canada has a fair population of Yahoos who don't want to wear masks and otherwise play by the rules.

Linda Myers said...

DJan, I love your Sunday musings. Doesn't matter where you start and where you finish up!

Be safe, my friend.

John's Island said...

I think most folks will agree we are all in the same boat ... more or less. I have a relative who says he has been social distancing for his whole life and he is in his 50s. I do like your approach to just keep looking forward and hoping for a return to better times.

Betsy said...

2020. It has indeed been a year. Our youngest son was supposed to get married in London. Twice. Both times they had to postpone because of Covid. We finally told them to just go ahead and get married without us and when this is all over we can have a big party. So far they're still waiting because he wants us and his brother and sister to be there. So many people have put their lives on hold because of this virus. My brother died from it clear back in May so I do know how serious it is. I haven't seen anyone in person to have a "real" visit in months. I drop things off on porches and others leave things on our RV steps. Never to actually sit down and have a chat.
2021. It HAS to be better. I'm counting on it.

Mary said...

I love posts that just flow with someone’s thoughts. It’s flows so naturally.
You are fortunate to live in a state with sane local politicians. I’m in Florida...land of trumpers and trump wannabes.
But if I can sit outside on a sunny day...I’m good...

Marie Smith said...

I could never write like you do, get inspiration to write and publish minutes later. My posts take me at least two days to sit in my brain and on the screen. You amaze me every week with your Sunday musings.

I always wonder what the grandchildren will remember about these times. Our three year old won’t remember much I imagine but the 7 and 9 year olds will have impressions of the times no doubt. We are a long way from herd immunity due to vaccination I fear.

William Kendall said...

To be fair, there are anti-maskers here in Canada, as well as people who think that house parties with a hundred people in this day and age is an acceptable thing to do.

C-ingspots said...

I'm so glad you're doing well despite all the outside influences we're going through this year. It's certainly been a doozy! Hoping it improves and gets back to a more "normal" situation for all of us. I'm one of those "critical care" workers whose life has been almost completely unaltered due to the virus. We've been business as usual since the onset, no days off, and business has been overwhelmingly more busy due in part (I think), to people being at home and having more personal time on their hands. No rest for the wicked they say! I do wear a mask when I'm in a store, but otherwise just keep a respectable distance (1 horse apart!) from most people. My husband and I have been blessed with no sickness, and no one that I know of, has had Covid...unless they're symptom free and unaware. Yes, this too shall pass. I am most thankful for living without fear, and I wish that for others as well. Hoping you have a merry and bright Christmas season, finding reasons to be thankful and of good cheer. Take care and be well, dear DJan.

Margaret said...

Posts, like life, have a direction of their own that we sometimes can't control. Personally, I like the introspective and the realistic, and don't enjoy blogs that are relentlessly upbeat. I do work on my attitude every day and generally adapt, albeit grudgingly, to circumstances. I guess I must be flawed not to see all the positives and growth in this pandemic. I just want it to be over. I'm very social and outgoing so it's also difficult when others post about how much they (as introverts) love the isolation. I love that picture! It is luminous.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Please excuse a second comment. :-) I just wanted to say thanks for all the comments you leave for me on my blog. I always look forward to your comments since I think we have a very similar outlook on life. Take good care and have a happy day. John

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