Mixed emotions, thoughts and information are circulating like salt in the ocean, muddled. Some say it’s the end of the world, others say it’s not a big deal. Some say it’s a government conspiracy, other’s say it’s nature’s way of controlling population. Some say there is a vaccine and a cure, other’s say there is no such evidence. The other day I saw somebody filling up water bottles with gasoline, another person said that gas was going to be restricted, I have seen no evidence… yet. Some people think that we are exempt from the pandemic in our Alaskan Hamlet, others don’t think so. I am one of the people who definitely doesn’t think so.
What is to come of our future? I don’ t know. My family is preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. Savanna is staying at home in “quarantine”. She spends her days playing with bunnies, watering seeds, feeding chickens, and petting the dogs. Yesterday she made art, listened to the sounds of our animals and fire, yesterday she was at peace in our home. I was at work, in a clinic, where people come for Medication Assisted Treatment to help them live free of drugs and alcohol. It was a HIGH stress zone. Some of our patients/clients/peers are afraid that the medication will stop coming. Others don’t seem to care whether they live or die. Others don’t say anything. Fear is palpable and can be read in people’s faces, and I am seeing and feeling fear all around.
When I returned home last night all I could do was go upstairs and lie on the floor with my feet on the couch, Savanna by my side, our baby kicking, both dogs on our sides. I could hear the bunnies drinking water from their kennel. The cat was stretched out on the couch. The rooster crowed and fire raged. I almost fell asleep, I was so relaxed. We made banana pancakes and ate dinner standing in the kitchen. We sat by the stove and watched the sunset. We went upstairs and did yoga together to relax before falling asleep. It was a great night, a peaceful night.
Today is a new day. I am afraid for my wife and unborn baby. What if she gets sick? I am afraid for my elderly friends. I am afraid for her mother who continues to work delivering food to people’s cars. I am afraid for people on medication. I am afraid the market will crash and people will start looting. I am afraid that people will starve and go crazy out of desperation. I am afraid that I will see what I saw in Iraq in 2003, on a larger level. The world and our country and state is changing so fast it’s making my head spin. A mandate from our Governor has been sent out that all restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters, bingo halls, food trucks, and other places where people gather will close down. People can go inside to order food but have to maintain 6 feet of separation and must leave with the food. Will people adhere to this? Public offices are closed. People are working from home. Libraries are closed. We went from having zero cases a week ago, to one case, to three cases yesterday and six cases today. I anticipate it will keep growing, I am not alone.
I called an elderly native lady today named Lorita who is a dear friend. She is the person who married Savanna and I. Yesterday she was feeling sick so she decided to go in quarantine. She has all of the food she needs, two freezers full plus her shelves. She has diabetes, a life time of smoking and really bad lungs, and she is in her late sixties. Lorita is afraid. She is not afraid to die, although she is the perfect candidate, she is afraid how many other people are going to die. She thinks a lot of people are going to die in the next few weeks and months, I agree with her. She doesn’t want to spread it, and wants to make sure that Savanna, myself and the baby are okay and well taken care of. When I asked her if she needed anything, she said that all she wants is that I promise to take care of my family. I promised her that I would, and then I offered to bring her a box of books in a week when she finishes the books she’s reading. She almost cried in excitement and forgetfulness. I know how much she reads and how often she visits the library, and she loses her mind if she doesn’t read. So I’ll bring her a box in a week or so when she asks, and some eggs and anything else she needs.
She said something that really sticks. She said, “Now is the time where people have the option to either be incredibly kind, or incredibly ruthless. What will we be like?” What will we all be like? Do we have something to share with your neighbors that you often overlook? Books…Music… Movies…Board Games?
I don’t know what the hell is going to happen in the next few weeks and months, but I know that I will continue to reach out to those in need and be here for my family and friends. May we all find time to reach out to each other and lend an ear. Let’s not be confused, terrified, or persuaded by endless opinions, ideas and misinformation. Take care.
P.S. I can’t express how grateful I am to have property to grow food, harvest food, be at peace, and have space. My heart goes out to all of those in the cities.