Saturday, March 28, 2020

Could Beethoven Have Forseen This....

    Doesn't it seem fitting that Ode To Joy has become a global anthem in this time of virus?
    Any rendition heals, but there is something "responsive"  and in the moment in the Rotterdam Philharmonic styling, at home, but together, virtually.
        Have we not laughed, or been brought to glassy eyes or felt a wholeness in the links, videos, zoom conversations or meetings as we all face the virus in isolation, or singularly, but like the orchestra, together?
     Isolation perhaps, socially distanced, life interrupted, but in community.
     My heart swells when we fragile and even frightened humans step onto balconies, porches, decks, or open our windows to yell, sing, ring bells, beat pans, applaud and cheer our medical providers. We cannot see the enemy, but we can defy its terror and rouse the lion in our human spirit and soothe our souls.

      We have imposed barriers in our one time convenient lives, we have placed obstacles to the common rhythms and familiar patterns. Now we wonder if perhaps we have taken so much for granted. 
      I was lamenting how I miss the sound of Jim Nantz and the tumult of an emphatic basketball arena. I feel cheated that I can't see the jibes and joy of Greg Gumble, Clark Kellogg, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. And that started me on a  trail of the sounds we are missing.
      The chatter at Lily's coffee deck, my circle of chatterers and debaters, the joy of children at play drifting up the ridge from the grammar school playground, the clang, beeps and buzz of the big box and grocery store, live music wafting in from clubs, the hostess greeting or the chime of wine glasses toasting, the conversations in parking lots, the vibe of a tasting room, the sound of traffic even, and the applause of a concert crowd.

     I hope we are making more calls. It's a way to care, to check up, and just enjoy someone's company, even if distant. My friend Frank and I were sharing how we've been looking for old basketball games or sports events on the cable. He's reading a Sports Illustrated anthology of great moments. 
     In a large, large way, the field of competition, all sports, are a major element in the sound score of lives. How many Saturday or Sunday afternoons did that mellow "Whoa, Nellie..." of Keith Jackson or Dick Enberg's "Oh My..." serve as a gentle assurance that all was well with the world. 
     So, in the interim, we have replays, but there is something "normalizing" in hearing Al Michaels, or Bob Costas, and others. Normalizing like a friend complaining about the freeway traffic, or the sound of airplanes, or even the car with loud speakers in the next lane. 
     Normal. Normal life has more sounds, more sub conscious cues that we are well.
     As I was mulling this, Scott Simon of NPR must have been having smiliar withdrawal. On his March 28 Weekend edition, he took it on with the inimitable Hank Azaria.

   Normal is on the other side of the virus and our social distanced restrictions. Getting there, getting through this is so much easier than what our parents or grand parents faced in the Spanish Influenza. Our cyber, wireless, social media world, helps us to remain in community. If each send, or text, or photo, or share could emit a sound lifted to the spheres, it would probably sound like an Ode to Joy.

    Stay well. See you down the trail.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Going Non Viral-Notes and Post Cards From Exile

   Note to the world. I donned latex gloves, a mask, the kind I use when using the weed cutter, a ball cap, Raybans and drove down the coast to Giovanni's fish market, doing my duty but hoping I wouldn't be mistaken as a robber and shot, thus taxing the very medical system we are trying to flatten the curve for. 

   Note to the source of all creation: Maybe viruses should be more like epiphytes. Spanish Moss won't kill its host, it just sort of borrows space, water, air and light. I mean, what's the point of killing that giving you a free ride?

      Note to self: The walks and hikes have taken on additional amperage. Yes, they are healthy and good for the immune system, but without my coffee deck pals my thoughts are focused, pensive. These moments help me know each day is indeed a gift.
   Note to the inner investigative reporter: are these guys practicing safe social distancing? 

     Note to grand daughter Addie and grand son Henry-this is an example of pretty good social distancing. And kids, as for this time of Covid-19, I wish I could say it is abnormal, but in your young lives, you know no differently, this is your normal. But I hope for only a short while.
   Note to daughters: I know you are worried, about the kids and about your mom and dad, about what this means and the future. 
    Remember this, your grandparents were kids during the Spanish Influenza pandemic. They lived through the Depression and WWII. Your mom and dad lived through the polio epidemic, the Kennedy assassination, the civil rights struggle and the Viet Nam war era, 1968, and we all made it through the post 9/11 shell shock and the recession/depression of 2008. We can be resilient. 
    Note to the news networks: The stooge in the White House is using you, as well as abusing you. He can longer preen and pucker in front of his adoring, so now this orange moth drawn to the bright light, is using the daily coronavirus briefing to suck in the attention he exists for. Stop covering the dunderhead live. 
    He lies, he exaggerates, he is mistaken, he is nasty, bellicose, is giving the market the heebie jeebies, making it tough on the experts, and is ludicrous, ugly and sounds like winey 14 year old girl. But most importantly he is dangerous.
     Record the briefing, wait for his own experts to debunk, then report the fact checked info first, then you can deconstruct what the imbecile said and did. 
   Note to the medical community: You are our heroes and these flowers are for you, and those who simply need a lift.
   My daughter is a nurse and she is a true hero to the new mothers and their babies who are being birthed in this age of the virus. She is a hero to her dad, who knows she would rather shelter at home with her husband and their two year old, but she goes to work, which she says these days is like going to war. 
   Note to Congress: People first. There have been all too few times in American history when the people have been helped first after economic distress. 
   Forget the Cruise lines-they are foreign registered to avoid paying US taxes. Airlines and banks and overpaid CEO's and corporate bonuses, can figure it out on their own. The banks have been notorious cheaters.  
      Note to voters: Exercise your franchise. It is time to sanitize, swab and heal the federal government. The White House needs to be pressure cleaned. The House and the Senate need to rid themselves of the fascists, thieves, and enablers who have allowed an unfit, unqualified would be dictator to do his best to bring this nation to ruin. Senate: He was impeached, you could have convicted, you cowards.     
    This virus would have come anyway, but his incompetence has endangered us all. He ignored warnings. He fired experts who could have mounted an early defense. 
     His behavior has killed people.
    If you could even contemplate a vote for Trump and the likes of Moscow Mitch, insider traders Burr, Loeffler, and the trump nazi Republicans now, you are one distrubed or ignorant person.

    Note to those of you who are ill, including some regular correspondents of Light/Breezes: We are sorry, we hope and pray for the best outcome, for healing and renewed health.
     To all who share our concerns: do what you can to help, to stay healthy. Try to be an agent of calm, of service. Check in with people. 

this is an arum lily, a black lily and sometimes mistakenly called a voodoo lily
if ever anyone needed social distance, it is the fathead schlemiel to him this is dedicated!

    Let's get through this and then get rid of the Trump virus.

    See you down the trail. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Into Madness and Out

a face in the wood
Lime Kiln Canyon, California

mind control
    Has your life begun to resemble some distant remembrance of an old sci-fi plot? 
     A pandemic, world wide worry, and a lunatic in the White House? 
      Dear ones, we are going deep into the forest and there are many questions about this journey.

    Four decades of reporting, producing and documentary making has toughened my skin and tested my soul, but when I saw a recent set of photos of empty streets, arenas, shelves, religious shrines and places on this globe where people were not, it gave me a jolt. 
    A virus is taking control of how we live. It is a terrorist, a war fighter invasion and it challenges our thin wall of civility. 
    We all have a stake in this, as all of us are vulnerable. Regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, identity, nation, age, or whatever, we are the same. Something new, unknown, and unseen has, in days, changed how we live and has rewritten our fears.

the mad king
   As we face an emergency on a potential level unseen in over a hundred years, the Trump administration has blown it. That is not surprising, but it is unforgivable! 
   No testing kits. No advance prep. No cohesive strategy. Trump is the president who fired the national security council expert on pandemics. He is the man who has downplayed the epidemic. He is the man who stood in front of doctors and raved about "how people were so surprised at how much he knew" about medicine.
    Donald Trump is delusional, inept and a clear and present danger to us all.
    His vanity, and his desire for re-election has made him even more dangerous. He's interested only in the stock market, reasoning that is his ticket to re-election. God help us! 
    He tells us it will just "go away," after first comparing it to just another attempt to get rid of him. He lies about statistics. If only some rational cabinet members would invoke the 25th Amendment, Section 4 and put the fool in a straight jacket and send him to Walter Reed and a padded cell. The man is ill. His brain is a congress of demons of greed, ego, deceit and fantasy. 

our common good
     If ever in our lifetime, this is something that  profoundly demonstrates we are all brothers and sisters, children under the same sky, residents of the same globe, and vulnerable to something that as yet we have little or no control of. 
     Blame and recrimination are unavoidable and necessary, but our purpose now should be to follow the advice of the medical experts and do what we can to lower and attempt to control the spread, to act with intelligence and civility. 
      We know not to buckle to terrorists because that gives them a victory, but this terrorist is a virus and we must employe intelligence and change things about our personal contact. There will be disruptions, but with time and proper procedures we will get through it. Already the number of cases in China are beginning to decline.
      In the meantime we are best advised to take our information from good sources, recognized medical sources, the World Health Organization, the CDC, state and county Health Departments. Be careful with the information that comes from social media and friends.
      While this medical emergency plays out we must remember the lowest humans among us will try to take advantage. There will be hustlers, cheats, price gougers, political manipulators, healers and the like. Don't be fooled. 

 the bright side
      My mother used to say, in all things, look on the bright side. She could say that and believe it, even after burying 3 of her four children. 
      So let's watch to see how all the children of this planet respond, and look for those movements, actions, events and developments which demonstrate once again, our unique human quality at over coming and surviving.

      Since we've traveled so deeply into the dark woods and  pondered such a heavy load, how about a celebration of life and vitality. Let's wander on and find an antidote.....

green renewal

    Take good care of yourself and loved ones.

      See you down the trail.