A Public Diary During the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic ~ Day 18

Snap peas being planted in the garden yesterday.

These are wild fucking times we’ve got here. 6.6 million people filed for unemployment this week. That doubled the record set last week. And in other news, the radiant authoritarian President, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has announced that people who don’t abide by the quarantine and appear unruly are to be shot. Oh, and as we officially approach 1 million COVID-19 cases worldwide (knowing there are well over that number), and New York alone reaches 100,000 confirmed cases (200K+ for the US), reports come in that the needed supplies being shipped in and handled by FEMA are being partially distributed to hot spots around the country while the rest enter the private market so that the competition of capitalism between states can decide where the rest go. Cool, sounds good to me...

That news about the medical supplies was something I was reading about this morning and then independently from that, I read a very articulate piece from Noam Chomsky on Truthout, that lays out the neoliberal capitalism and bullshit we’ve got here in the US of A that clearly show why we are in such a fucked position when it comes to things like ventilators. In fact, the interview article is titled: Chomsky: Ventilator Shortage Exposes the Cruelty of Neoliberal Capitalism. I’ll post the article below because it really is worth reading to better understand how the fuck we got here. In a nutshell, well before Trump, dating back to at least Reagan’s presidency the neoliberal policies that were put in place drastically shifted the focus from personal care of the population and instead towards the profits of the fucking plutocratic fat cats.

The other article I read this morning that got me feeling feels in a way that was at times sympathetic and at other times something between embarrassment and shame because I found myself partially as the subject of the article. The title of this piece was called: The Pandemic is Not Your Vacation. Written by Anne Helen Peterson for Buzzfeed. Now, the article really hit some good points that I appreciated greatly. It’s hard to summarize and distillate the whole piece succinctly but my main takeaways were that those who have a great deal of privilege, especially those who have second and third homes, are coming into rural areas, largely to escape the pandemonium unfolding in the big cities, and messing with these local communities in significant ways. Most are not in their peak seasons of influx due to tourism and do not have the infrastructure in place to handle these people short term, and certainly not long term. The hospitals (if they have one nearby) are not big enough, the grocery stores have less supplies and slower supply chains that refill them, and also, perhaps most importantly on the front end of all this, the folks fleeing the cities are bringing the fucking virus with them! I’m gonna pause here and leave a link to the article because it is worth a read and I don’t at this point in time wish to dedicate much more of this writing to re-writing what was so well written.

And meanwhile, in certain corners of the country, religious leaders are still having huge services and claiming that attending church is an essential service. I do not have many words to add to this for you to reflect on right now. You can take this information and swirl it about in your own thought bucket…

On to other more encouraging things. I’m watching a bumble bee buzz about outside the window, pollinating a rosemary bush that is full of purple petals. It sits next to a deep pink flowering magnolia which seems to be interesting the bees as well. Just a few feet further away a lilac bush, that is now full tree status at about 15 feet tall and equally wide, is starting to have its buds peeking out their purplish pronouncements and joining the scene.

Yes, spring is sprung and continues to be springing. Yesterday, my boy and I turned up the soil in one of our garden beds, used three sticks of bamboo to create a trellis with a green twine web, and planted two variations of snap peas. Super excited for them to get cozy in their new beds o’ soil and let their roots come down and then sprout on up. Next to that bed is an apple tree with vibrant reddish-pink petals peeking out as well. Those are a few good things going in the spaces we are fortunate enough to call our yard.

Apple blossoms in the fuzzy foreground as more snap peas are planted.

Also of note, now that I think about it, the raspberry bushes are getting all green and primed to pump out some deliciousness in due time. Same with the strawberries, likewise, the fig tree is starting to spring forth some new leaves as well. The hop vines, that are now at least four or maybe five years old now, have awoke and are looking for purchase to latch on to and spiral their way skyward. I’ll have to get some lines out for them very soon. It’s neat to think of the many things that our natural world provides for us, especially those that can be found close to home, those that we can care for and tend to. I listed a good number of things going on in our backyard though I didn’t hit them all, that makes me smile, just knowing there is even more goodness than I listed just now. There is abundance to be found, loved on, and supported if we direct some of our attention to these things. I am indeed grateful.

Yesterday, we also buried a bird in the side yard. It had sadly met its end by flying into our front window. A startling event that we experienced while watching a show. I don’t recall that ever happening before which made the event both strange and added a bit of unsettled energy to its random occurrence. My son and I dug a hole very close to where our dear cat Maximoose was buried just a few months before. I sure miss that cat and all the more so do I miss his company in these trying times. He spent a portion of every day on my lap, purring away. Well, we buried the bird and said some words and gave thanks for its life, my son was sweet and was glad that it was joining Max in the ground to go and become one with the earth once again. Children deal with death in such fascinating ways. Interestingly, we’ve had a couple different cats come up on our back porch these past few weeks, sniffing around, no doubt wondering where their old buddy has gone.

What a trip, I’m 18 days into these daily reflections, it is April 2nd, 2020, a Thursday for anyone still paying attention to such things. On the first day I started writing and taking note of this pandemic and isolation situation we are in, there were somewhere around 190,000 cases reported worldwide, now there are over 1,000,000. And as noted, that’s just the ones that have been reported and tested. Lordy knows what the actual numbers are. And what I really don’t care to contemplate is the carnage that this virus is causing across the world, and specifically here in the US where we have handled this pandemic so utterly fucking poorly. These next couple weeks are gonna be intense. I’m trying to mentally and emotionally prepare for that.

In other more encouraging news, I did have a great zoom meeting with some of the core GPSEN crew, a sort of welcome back for me. It was primarily about the upcoming Symposium that is to be held online now and also more discussions around the new podcast I’ll be hosting and producing. I’ll be kicking that off in the coming weeks and I’m pretty stoked about that. It gives me something to dedicate time towards that I am passionate about and also to be of service in sharing ideas and solutions for how to navigate our way through this mess we all find ourselves in. It is going to be called ESD, Sustain Me! and will be based on the ESD 2030 platform which focuses on the decade ahead and the imperative measures we must take, climate and environment wise, before it’s too late. ESD stands for Education for Sustainable Development and is based on UNESCO’s work which GPSEN is a part of. I mentioned this a bit before and we’re still at the beginning of this process with the podcast, which will include reframing the idea of what the word Education means in context to this podcast, but also in regards to what it means for the world at large. This is not going to be a higher education focused program, education comes in all shapes and sizes, a myriad of forms, from the local businesses that adapt resilient resource usages, to the communities who learn ways to adapt to the changing needs they face during trying times like these, they all have teachable moments and are going to be providing educational opportunities for us to learn from. In essence, education is happening in every nook and cranny of this country and across the world and a part of this program will be to find an celebrate all the many ways it’s being exercised. I dig that notion, and the task ahead, a great deal.

Oh, one more thing about Zoom. I just learned about ‘Zoom Bombing’ today and I’m sure it’s going to be circulating through the social media world and news front in the coming days. Public Zoom calls are getting ‘bombed’ by assholes who want to disrupt meetings and whatever services are going on. Posting graphic images and videos or saying horrendous stuff. That sucks. Especially in the midst of all this pandemonium from the pandemic. Do we really need that shit right now? I don’t think so. But be on the lookout for it! There are ways to prevent it and avoid it I understand. Something to learn more about…

Alrighty, I’m gonna wrap this up. It’s 3:33pm now and I’m running out of writing steam. Speaking of steam, this fresh nettle tea from my harvest awhile back is treating me swell. Sure am grateful for this! Now I’m gonna tune back in to the goings on around these parts, help figure out what the hell we’re gonna make for dinner tonight, and keep on keeping on. So much love to you out there, wherever you are. We are indeed all in this together and together, while physically apart, we can get through this trying time and make it out on the other side with a more harmonious, kind, and loving reality. That’s what I’m both rooting for, and working towards…

Writer, podcaster, international public speaker, Theater of the Oppressed actor, and lover of this precious intrinsically connected world we are all a part of.