Will we translate what we have learned into action?
Will the knowledge that pollution levels have dropped significantly, that marine life has returned to the waters of Venice and the skies are alive with bird ong, move us from simply noticing to action?
I fear that memory is short where profit is paramount.
Memory is short when the President of the United States works in partnership with the oil companies and makes the Environmental Protection Agency a joke.
Memory is short when natural disasters like hurricanes, tornados and excessive flooding aren't connected to global warming but rather as a few isolated freak storms. When fires racing out of control are accepted as the way things are.
I've read that working from home will remain frequent and Zoom, the norm. But will it be because workers like working in their pajamas or because of the great savings to benefit the company. Less office space needed and meetings that require no travel. No hanging around the water cooler.
I've read recently about a company that provides a system where the Boss can monitor the devices of staff members to see that they are not cruising the net and "wasting time". Employees need to be told that they are being monitored, however they have few options.
I've also read that shopping on line has peaked during the pandemic and that stores will need to woo their customers back. Already we see large companies closing.
A friend went to The Bay a few days ago, just after it it had reopened. There were signs saying “Touch only what you’re interested in buying” or something similar. She said that it was enough to keep her from flipping through the hangers, especially as she had read that the virus stays longer on hard surfaces.
Looking at all the merchandise, she was struck by its excess. So much "stuff" and so very little of it even remotely necessary. I couldn't but think of my wardrobe, where my "good outfits" of black tops and pants were gathered from Eileen Fisher stores in Phoenix, Az between 2000 and 2010.
Another friend said the owner of a small store emailed that she would meet one-on-one with customers and talked of retail therapy.
And finally, a young woman waited in line for 1 1/2 hours to shop at HomeSense on the first day of its reopening.
I've noticed a great deal about myself during this time of social distancing directives.
*I realize how much time I spend on my own: walking, photographing and working in my garden.
*And I notice how talking over the fence to my neighbour is important to me.
*And how I spend too much time on the computer and not enough time reading.
*I notice how I miss the spontaneity of racing to the store to pick up an ingredient I'm missing. And how I can usually do without it.
*I miss touch and a hug.
*And I miss printing with Patrice, sitting side by side, working together on a photograph.
Constraints about travel have greatly affected what is important to me.
*I so want to visit my dear niece and support her during her health struggles, however I can't fly or even cross into the U.S.
*A wonderful celebration on Galiano Island for my daughter's 50th birthday is cancelled because her sister can't come from Israel.
*Will my love of Havana and my beautiful hosts slowly slip away as I won't be traveling to Cuba for the foreseeable future?
These things I can't change. Mourning won't alter their truth.
The Buddha said "Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it".
I understand how fortunate I am for having my senses alive to the beauty surrounding me. To notice the shadow designs hosta leaves create in the late afternoon, the small ant moving in the center of a single white peony, and the remarkable way a succulent changes again and again during its life cycle.
To feel deeply, even when it's painful.
And always to connect with people, sometimes in untravelled ways.