March 29, 2020 § 9 Comments

As humans, we turn to other humans for comfort. They are us; we are them. Most of the time we take turns needing and giving comfort. Hard times and heart aches are usually targeted, person-specific. The one who is okay eases the pain of the one who is not, and in time, the comfort will flow the other direction.


But what happens when all of humanity needs comfort as it does, for instance, in a time of war—or pandemic, which is where we suddenly, unexpectedly, find ourselves now and the very human expression of comfort, holding or being held by someone, may open the door for the virus to slip in and steal a life?

And how much comfort do we have to spare when we are all at risk, all jangled, all scared?

But Covid-19, while a threat to all humanity around the globe, does nothing to other forms of life. They go on about their business all around us, oblivious. The virus cannot hinder the joyous unfolding of spring just outside every self-isolated home. You don’t have to go further than your own front step to hear the rest of life singing, or to see it strutting as it displays the plumage of courtship, or bursting into bloom or leafing-out with that green that happens only in the Spring. This is the time when life invests in itself without reservation.

On a normal, busy, day we hold ourselves apart—there is us, and there is nature, which we visit on our vacations or foray into briefly as we power-walk. We forget that we are a part of the web of life, part of the exuberant awakening that is spring.

Since we have to step away from the company of other people, perhaps we can step toward the company of other living things, quit seeing nature as something separate from ourselves. We can enlarge what we notice, look up, listen to the songs that celebrate teeming life, life on the rise, life in recovery from the lead grey months of winter, the long sleep that precedes the burst of Spring. Perhaps we can find our place in a picture far larger than the view from a desk, or from behind a restaurant counter, or in a classroom.


If not now, when?

Suddenly, we have time to watch the bumblebee bump the window screen, and study the jewel-like milkweed beetles beating the monarchs to the milkweeds, time to listen to the back and forth conversations of the birds, watch the first Sulphur butterfly fly a wobbly and ecstatic path through the sunlit air—and by doing so find comfort that takes us out of our small, closed, fear-filled human life.

It is hard not to mourn the absence of arms around you, the at-work chatter you’ve always taken for granted, the casual affirmation of a handshake, but there are other sources of hope and solace and they are all around you. Set down your fear, your isolation, your preoccupation with this dire moment in human history and lean on life.

All you have to do is step outside and be still.


Tagged: ,

§ 9 Responses to Comfort

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Comfort at Adrian Fogelin.


%d bloggers like this: