At least, that is what Twitter tells me. Instagram tells me that we are in this together and with enough inspirational quotes, we’ll get by. And Pinterest offers a multitude of ways in which to craft, project, pinboard, or otherwise organize our way through these times. (I don’t know what Facebook would tell me to do, as I avoid it like the… oh.)
Social media is a dangerous place to get a sense of the collective conscious. Of course, this has always been true, even before mass messages were sent through satellite connections.
But. People are struggling. It is winter in half the world, after all. And it is January everywhere, which comes with expectations to do better. On top of a medical pandemic, we are also awash in a pandemic of attempted authoritarianism driven by greed and fear. Societies are divided. People have died, have become disabled, have lost loved ones, or have lost touch with each other. Many feel as if they have lost touch with themselves. And kids sense and see all of this.
I haven’t written much about our collective struggle; it has been covered ad nauseum. I have not found much useful solace among the shrill pieces of complaint or reflection or advice or finger pointing. The cynicism becomes tiring. The advice feels hollow.
Increasingly, as I seek ways to motivate our family through a space that has seemingly lost all points of reference, I find myself turning to things untouched by our self-inflicted state of messy human existence. Yesterday morning, the nearly full moon was still up and brilliantly shining across a subzero walk. The moon carries on.
On Monday, a Cooper’s hawk silently watched us as we cross-country skied our way around the small lakes.
Last week, I spied a red fox slipping cautiously and gracefully through the woods behind our home. Nature carries on.
The days are slowly getting brighter again.
It is nearly February.
Time carries on. Even when we feel we’ve lost touch with it.
I do not have advice for you, reader. Only empathy and patience, and the sharing of what I’m doing right now. I ask myself on the long days: Have you hugged the kids? Are you hungry? Tired? Cold? What is one small thing you can do right now that brings a sense of comfort or accomplishment or rest?
I am so grateful to be doing this work, to be publishing books like The Struggle Bus (a timely read for us all), and simply to be here. Every day, I remind myself: this is enough.