The clocks changed today and the world has leapt one hour toward the light. The daffodils are opening under the crab-apple tree, which is singing forth its magnificent purple blossom. All my friends my age are twice-vaccinated and the teachers at my school at least once. San Francisco public schools have set an April date to re-open. And so Spring is ushering forth in both the flowers and the fellowship of distanced humans about to get closer together again.
But now the grand question: Who will we be when we return? Will we emerge from our year of time-out with our thinking opened wider, our feeling opened deeper, our bodies prepared to savor each touch and hug? Or will we have squandered our opportunity and emerge into a re-opened world with the same closed minds, closed hearts and closed bodies? Will we once again carelessly toss aside this beautiful world gifted to us, walk through is bounties with our heads buried in phones, returned to clog freeways poisoning the air and raising our stress, insist that children in schools still stare at screens? Will we busy ourselves with the unnecessary business that keeps us distracted and stops us from taking time to notice and care about the next flagrant act of white supremacist violence or democracy-dismantling perpetrated by elected officials betraying their oath to serve?
Might we carry the lessons learned in solitude forward into a world worthy of re-opening? Keep reading about the 400 year of pandemic racism wreaking havoc, recognize that denial is not a vaccine, but knowledge, attention and caring can be. Send the kids out to keep building forts in the woods or parks without an adult giving orders or a corporation sponsoring with their logo T-shirts. Keep up the practices that sustained us—resuming piano, taking up painting, exploring meditation, even—gasp!—writing a poem or two! Shut off American Idol and gather with the neighbors to sing. And yes, SING! With the kids at home, the kids at school, make up for a year of lost voices and sing, sing and yet again, sing!
In short, let us wholly celebrate the re-opening world with the full measure of our re-opened minds, hearts and bodies. If you’re not ready to do so, I suggest another year of time-out. Preferably with your power out.