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  • Writer's pictureM. Linda Graham

A Walk in the Woods - something ate the breadcrumbs

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Into the woods--you have to grope, But that's the way you learn to cope. Into the woods to find there's hope Of getting through the journey.”

– from “Into the Woods” – Stephen Sondheim

I haven’t left home since March 24, 2020, when my husband and I took our dogs to the Vet for “necessary immunizations.” It’s only been 14 days since then. I am grateful for our blessed circumstance – both retired, we live far from the madding crowd, with outdoor space for our dogs, and plenty of room for not seeing each other all day until happy dinner time. Our families are healthy, so far. We have plenty of toilet paper, for now.

We volunteer as we can, learn to zoom, watch the beauty of spring emerge, and facetime family members, but I'm starting to feel the weariness of minor inconveniences. My hair is getting long, there’s literally nothing on the calendar, and the empties are piling up. Easter decorations are reminders of what’s not happening: family dinners, egg hunts, church activities- all truly insignificant annoyances in the big picture– but markers of this new world.

We must shelter in place for another month (or more). Meanwhile, health care workers, first responders, essential workers in delivery, agriculture, grocery, the newly unemployed, small businesses, education, the ill & dying, their families, and so many more – all are experiencing unprecedented challenges. We’ve not even hit the top of “the curve.” The tail on the coronapocalypse will be long and potent: estimates of 100,000 – 240,000 dead (or more); a certain recession, a likely depression, and what about the impact of social distancing? We already know that loneliness is the greatest of killers- what happens in the face of long-term mandated social isolation combined with financial devastation?

In great myths and fairy tales, a reckoning comes when the hero enters the woods. Soon the hero is lost, and survival depends on how they face their greatest fears. An open heart, humility, honesty, courage, wit, resilience, determination, patience and endurance will win the day, but ultimately survival requires letting go of what was, accepting what is, and having faith in what will be. If the hero is to live, the hero must fall, then transform, letting their greater self- a phoenix- rise, a new life born from the death of the old. Gandalf? Yes... that was what they used to call me. Gandalf the Gray. That was my name…..*I* am Gandalf the White. And I come back to you now - at the turn of the tide.”- LOTR

An insidious, highly contagious, aggressive and deadly virus has taken our collective life deep into uncharted woods, and we are lost. We grope, we cope, where is the hope for the future? Answers can be found through clear-eyed, honest engagement with science for the betterment of humanity; will we do what needs to be done?

Hope. Faith. We are living the season of Easter.

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