We went walking in Riverside Park yesterday afternoon on a much needed trip outdoors - between all the rain this past week and an inconsolable depression that's descended upon me, I didn't go out much. I had purchased enough groceries for the week that I didn't really have to and work was super busy with many virtual meetings popping up which kept me tethered to the kitchen table too.
So yesterday, as the sun came out and the temp went up to 60, we couldn't wait to get out (with our homemade face masks securely tied to our heads, of course).
Going to the Park is usually the highlight of my week. There is a specific bench I sit at to watch the sunset over Jersey and I sometimes go there to read, write, and listen to music when I need a little break. During the summer, when the empanada truck is there, I enjoy a snack and a soda. I've spent some truly meaningful and beautiful times there over the past 16 years. I hope to do so again.
These days, there is, of course, no empanada truck, and the Park isn't a place of respite but a place of potential doom: only about 50% of the people there were wearing masks (runners and cyclists, mostly, but not only) And social distancing? If people truly believe that "that" is 6 feet, then that solves some of the mystery of why our country ranks 30th (out of 37) in math. (Source: US News and World Report, 2019. )
Still, it was a beautiful day and once we found a part of the Park with few other people, I could breathe a sign of relief.
And then we saw this graffiti painted on a stone staircase leading up from the Park to the street. It hit me cold. How many times have we all seen the MAD Magazine cartoons with the hippie guy carrying an "The end is near" signs? I suddenly thought - are we actually 'here'?
Well, upfront, no, I don't think so. If I did, I think I'd be worse off. But the graffiti did make me wonder - maybe, just maybe, this isn't the end of the human race, but maybe, just maybe, it could be the end of whatever it was that we were doing before this happened - because that sure was a sh*tshow wasn’t it? I mean, I'm not even really specifically referring only to the lack of leadership in this country in general, but in, well, everything. If you need me to spell it out, I'm happy to do so, but I think all of us have been aware that something just isn't right. Haven't we?
I kind of need to believe that something really transformative could come from this. That we could figure a few things out - what's important, what's not; what's essential and what's not. Maybe this is an opportunity to stare down the bullshit and tell it that it has no power here. Because it only has power if we let it have power.
Now I know that this is probably too new agey/gooey for many. But for those of us who are hopeful for better days ahead, well, I can only speak for me when I say that 'hoping' for this is what is helping me get through this. That it will be all for something.
But each of us have to do our part to make that happen.
What is something that's not in your life right now that you don't miss? Write it down and get rid of it when it's offered again.
What is something you have now that you didn't realize you've been missing? Write it down and do more of that when you can.
Don't wait for the 'right' time; the time, is here.