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Virus Without Borders: Chapter Forty-Four

A Writer'sThanksgiving Reflections in a Plague Year


 I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of Imagination.

   -John Keats


After another fierce storm, sunshine. I woke to light streaming through the blinds onto the wall graced by my daughter's painting, "Reflections." It was one of several in a series for a show in New York City some years ago. I open my eyes and there it is, evocative and inspiring. I close my eyes and there it stays as I sleep, protective and ethereal.  I suppose it is a totem of stability and hope in this plague year, a remembrance of an easier, connected time, ease taken for granted like so much else in our privileged pre-COVID lives. Perhaps this global trauma will sanctify necessary changes in the way we live and vote and spend our money and make friends and cherish loved ones. I look forward, as a writer and as a citizen of the troubled United States, to participate in and document these changes.


The holidays are beckoning and looming. We are not together, not in proximity just yet, we must stay the recommended course to remain safe. I carry this thought into the day: we won't be having a family Thanksgiving. How will we celebrate? What will we be celebrating? Survival, fortitude, good will, a new administration in the White House, ancestors and descendants, respect for one another, the Milky Way, scientists developing treatments and vaccines, educators, front line doctors and nurses, soldiers, diplomats, apples, lakes, clouds, windmills and solar panels.


In the supermarket early this morning I remembered a dream. It's not the first supermarket dream I've had since the pandemic began. It goes like this: It is early, and I am nearly alone. I run into my daughter and am surprised to see her there as this is the hour reserved for seniors. What is she buying? Why hasn't she told me she'd be here? Why is the frozen food rotten and dirty? Why are we talking without our masks?  We open a couple of folding chairs and sit distanced in front of the avocados to continue our unending conversation. Then she walks away, and I walk away to separate check-out counters, we wave good-bye, blow kisses, and wrap our arms around ourselves in symbolic, muted hugs.

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