Foggy roads and grieving hearts make it hard to grasp where you are.
Fans of the brilliant songwriter John Prine will recognize an echo there with a line of his. I borrowed its framing as a tribute.
(“broken hearts and dirty windows make life difficult to see,” from ‘Souvenirs.’)
When we look back on this time at some far future point, we will each recall hallmarks large and small that most remind us of it. Events that moved us from an abstract sense of its singular seriousness to reality hitting home.
The manner in which we lost this songwriter is one such marker for me, given what he succumbed to after surviving so much else.
It says something significant about the times we’re in that readers across the globe will instantly grasp what i mean by ‘the times we’re in’.
It’s been about two months since something most of us had never heard of before became the most commonplace reference in our conversations.
Now nearly anything spoken, recalled or observed from this period cannot help but reflect it.
While that may be true, in a sense, of any utterance or recollection, today’s shared frame of reference for humanity in real time is indeed novel.
A few posts ago, i recorded some observations about movement — what feels good about it, how it feels when it’s blocked. The satisfaction of setting a course rather than drifting.
These Virus Times have provided quite the illustration of some of those ideas.
Feels like every day is Blursday.
Chosen stillness is a relief. Stillness imposed against our preference is harder to embrace.
The post you are now reading began with thoughts i set out to express weeks ago.
Its movement was first blocked, then knocked off course.
Having paused and then resumed it with so many weeks in between will forever be another personal marker for me of these times.
Reasons for the derailment are complex, but a prominent feature of these times — a persistent background anxiety — is certainly at the core of it.
Anxiety brought about by ongoing disruption of routine.
The anxiety of knowing how anxious others are.
Fear for the wellbeing of loved ones near and far, grief for those suffering needlessly and those already lost.
When i first started this essay, it was my purpose for it to not be about the Virus Times.
But this is where i am. This is where we are.
This will be with us for a while.
On some horizons, things are sluggishly brightening up.
People feel desperate to get moving again.
The other day while out walking, i waited at a stop sign for a car to pass. As it did, the notes from its blaring stereo became gradually more faint as it drove away, until i could no longer feel the pounding…
The song we are all hearing, a sad one we didn’t select, is deafening.
It’s a misty road we’re on. The times are disorienting.
We will always recall what this was like.
But we are also fixing our gaze ahead — looking forward to when the car is out of sight and its over-loud notes are less piercing.