The Pollyanna Report:

March 22, 2020 § 15 Comments

The Corona virus is spreading silently, invisibly. Even if, for now, its presence is only in our minds, and in the news that runs nonstop, it has changed our lives in just a handful of days.

It will make us sick.

Or not.

Either way, it instills fear, pulls the safety of paying jobs out from under us, makes us shun human contact. It mocks our plans and promises that some of us—perhaps a substantial number—won’t make it out the other side.

That’s the bad news, and it is about as bad as bad news gets. But there are peripheral consequences, ones we are just beginning to experience, and some of them are good:

The sky is blue over Bejing, the smog machine of industry temporarily stilled. All over the world, the pouring out of CO2 has been turned down by the hand of the virus.

I called my sister in Manhattan, my brother in North Carolina, an aunt in Connecticut I don’t call nearly often enough. Friends too. Sure, we begin with the virus, but it is just the ice breaker. After that we catch up, have the conversations we were too busy to squeeze in when we were high steppin’ to keep up with our so-called real lives.

That same attentiveness applies to the people we are around physically, even those we don’t know. Although we maintain our distance, we greet each other, even strangers, because, hey, we are joined to everyone else by our common fear. And so, strangers feel less like strangers, more like companions on a long and uncertain, but shared, journey.

We appreciate those we love in an active way. Taking-for-granted is for those who consider themselves too busy to feel or express love right now. It is a human trait to appreciate, eyes-open, what we fear we may lose. We love with greater fervor, and admit it more honestly.

We become suddenly capable of differentiating between what is important and what is just noise—in this new normal every ad on TV makes me indignant. We’re worried about our lawns? Wrinkles? Spots on our dishes? Really? When time is no longer endless or a given we are harder to distract with the trivial.

We notice the small moments of grace provided by the natural world as the beauty of Spring busts out all around us. I write this on my front stoop where a caterpillar is wobbling across the concrete, two tiny jumping spiders are doing just that, a bird is warbling out an alluring invitation to a prospective mate. Unafraid, nonhuman life is going on, exuberantly, all around us.

Finally, sequestered, we have time to do the small, quiet things we have pushed aside, and pushed aside. We read a book, organize a shelf, write in a journal, think.

I can’t deny the darkness of this hour, but there are glimmers of light, always, and I bet in our current state of mind we will not only see them, but appreciate them with a gratitude we rarely take the time to feel.

Note: Please add positive things you have observed in the time of crisis. It doesn’t alter the crisis, but it gives us hope, and hope can go a long way.

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§ 15 Responses to The Pollyanna Report:

  • craig reeder says:

    thank you for reminding us of our humanity, a humanity that shines brighter in times of pain and suffering.

    Like

  • cronkitesue says:

    Did the Economist say “baited breath?” The word is “bated.” This ad badly needs a proofreading.

    Like

  • I must not be seeing the ad, Sue–but the criticism made me scan for the phrase in my post as I might well have made that mistake and said “baited.” Makes sense though. “Bated” must come from “abated.”

    Like

  • Renee says:

    Lovely post, Adrian.

    Like

  • craig reeder says:

    saw a beautiful sunset today, appreciated the quiet of sitting on the lawn with wife and dog, and had the pleasure of reading these wonderful thoughts and observations.

    Like

  • Paul of Flowerland Mountains on Shangrila Farm says:

    Strangely enough, my daily routine hasn’t really changed due to COVID19, but then again have been cloistered and sequestered for the past 9+months caring for aged mom for 13 out of 14 days for over 1/2 of the day: It’s OK, but not what I expected to do after retirement for sure! Strangely enough, I had planned to leave town and tour around the country once mom passes (which she will do before the end of the year we are pretty sure); but with COVID19 – instead, I will have time to do other stuff instead – which unfortunately will not allow me to come out of my cloister – my monastery – until this thing passes. Having dealt with the small things for some time now, I am now seeing and feeling how these contribute to much greater things – including those greater than my own small self. So I may not leave the monastery when I planned, but maybe it is better that I stay here a while anyway … Thanks for the post, Ms Adrian!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Judy Ray says:

    As always your posts are amazing.
    Nature is my happy place right now. Outside pulling weeds, cleaning flower beds that have begged for my attention for months. I’m bug bitten, poison-ivy on my arms and dirty… Looking up at the trees I’m amazed all the different shade of green there are… against a blue sky WOW! Go God!!

    Like

  • KM Huber says:

    I, too, have talked on the phone more, especially to my father and his wife who are in Seattle but it occurs to me that for the last 10 years, I have been living social distancing because of one health concern or another (to avoid colds and flu). I found a life online, much of it different only in that these friends and I may never meet in person–I am reminded of the days when people wrote letters–so these days are not so unusual for me, with the exception of their politics.

    Like

  • Linda Wright says:

    Good to hear from you again, Adrian. I’ve gotten back to blogging too and it feels so good to be writing and sharing. Stay safe be an unabashed Pollyanna.

    Like

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