When the Earth stood still

When the Earth stood still

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Setting aside for a moment the tragedy of the COVID pandemic, it’s been fascinating to observe the underlying psycho-social issues of sheltering in place. I find it mind-boggling that the world essentially stopped. Never before in modern history has this happened, as far as I know. I think of the phrase – “Stop the world I want to get off!” Well, this was your chance.

I couldn’t help but feel a sense of justification looking at all the social media gripes from people posting — I need a hug! I can’t handle the loneliness! Huh, I thought to myself. Now you know what it feels like. Since I retired four years ago, I’ve been living alone in a secluded place. Lucky me! I’ve had four years to train for “sheltering in place.” Didn’t bother me at all. As a matter of fact, my life hasn’t changed very much. The takeaway? Have more sympathy for people who live alone, it ain’t for sissies. And, get ready for old age, this is what it’s like!

Another issue that’s surfaced is how addicted we are to our busy-ness. When our cars and jobs and air travel and access to shopping and entertainment is all taken away, what are we left with? Essentially we’re left with a life that humans have lived for the past ten thousand years. Up until 100-150 years ago, Joe Human lived and moved within 20 miles of where he was born, worked at home, his wife and kids were at home, and they all had to entertain themselves WITHOUT a phone, computer or television in something like a 400-square-foot dwelling. People told stories and played games with balls and talked to each other for a good time. Welcome to life as most humans have historically lived it.

It’s thought-provoking to hear how the environment has been affected since COVID-19, how wildlife has ventured forth into places humans have deserted. Makes you think, where have these wild animals been all this time? Hiding behind rocks spying on us? Waiting, just waiting for an opportunity? Kind of smacks you in the face with the awareness that the world does not belong to us, it also belongs to them.

We also hear in the news how quickly pollution has cleared up given the briefest chance. It’s as if the planet has breathed a sigh of relief after a century plus of pollutants being spewed at it. It’s a hopeful sign that if we would just give the earth a break, it has great recuperative powers. Will we give the earth that chance?

What comes after COVID-19? Will we change, or will we go back to the frantic comfort zone we knew? When French president Emmanuel Macron proposed a coronavirus ceasefire to global wars, I thought (probably naively), well, heck, if we can agree to that, then why wouldn’t we just keep it that way? Seriously, when the virus issue recedes, is someone, somewhere, gonna rub his hands together and say, OK folks, it’s safe to start killing each other again?

People are out of control. That’s what this virus has shown us.

Dana Rodney

St. Helena

Editor’s Note: Because of the health implications of the COVID-19 virus, this article is being made available free to all online readers. If you’d like to join us in supporting the mission of local journalism, please visit napavalleyregister.com/members/join/.

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