Taking Stock: Over 100,000 Deaths

As the grim title of this post indicates, covid-19 has killed over 100,000 people in the United States. The sorrowful weight of it presses down on me, and my heart is heavy. And rightly so. With no vaccine available and places opening all around the United States, it is likely the death toll will continue to rise. How far? To 200,000? To 500,00? Who knows?

Whatever the case, a staggering number of people have died of it in a short time.

Eliza Mackintosh, of CNN, puts it in perspective:

In less than four months, the novel coronavirus has killed more than 100,000 Americans — more than in Vietnam, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan combined.

It is a story of lost mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, spouses and even children. An even bigger tragedy: They didn’t all have to die.

Stephen Collinson, also of CNN, expands on this:

A Columbia University study released last week found that had the US started social distancing a week earlier, it could have prevented the loss of at least 36,000 lives.

In the New York metro area alone, 17,500 fewer people would have died if the US had acted one week earlier, Columbia epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman said.

Shameful. Yet recently on Facebook, a friend of a friend commented: “The cure cannot be worse than the disease… We must resume to live.”

I wrote back: “The cure is worse than death? For the 100,000 people who have died of covid-19 in this country? For the many, many more who will surely die as standards are relaxed?”

An argument ensued, and nobody’s mind was changed.

All the while, our president has put the coronovirus in his rear-view mirror, as though the virus is a pesky driver that can be passed and left behind. Onward to the 2020 election, which appears to be what is chiefly on the president’s mind. Suffering and death? Not so much.

There have been glimmers of hope. Not every country has behaved as stupidly as ours has. As the writer Umair Haque writes, “New Zealand… didn’t just flatten the curve. It ‘crunched’ it, as epidemiologists say. Do you know how many people died of the virus in New Zealand? Just 21. Twenty one….That’s a stunning accomplishment….Sure, New Zealand’s a small country. But being a big country doesn’t give you a license to just watch helplessly as thousands die. That’s just a rationalization for negligence.”

Can the U.S. learn from New Zealand and its admirable prime minister, Jacinda Ardern? Again, who knows?

Despite my heavy heart, I live in hope.

On the Wall by My Desk

From time to time, I get cards from friends near and far. Usually, the cards have gone on the door of our refrigerator, where I seldom see them because most of the time I am working on my computer. Therefore, I decided to get a metal bulletin board to put on the wall by my desk. That way I could easily glance over at the cards and  admire them.

The bulletin board came in last week, and Clif put it up for me. When it comes to reading measurements, I am terrible at judging how big something is. This bulletin board was no exception, and it’s a little smaller than I would like. Clif suggested I get another one the same exact size and hang it above the current one. I just might do this.

In the meantime, the board is big enough for the four cards I have recently received and are very dear to me.

The one on the far left is from my blogging friend Jodie in honor of our dear dog Liam, who died two years ago. This card both made me smile and brought tears to my eyes.

The card just beneath it is from my blogging friend Jill. The picture was taken of a tree in front of her house. She wrote, “The pecans were just leafing out—they are the last to get leaves.” Such a lovely description.

Right beside the Liam card is a sweet, delicate water color by Dawn,  yet another blogging friend. On the back she wrote, “Enjoy the little oak.” I surely am.

Finally, the last card is a humorous one, sent to me by my long-time friend Dawna. Although the message is humorous and a reflection of how an everyday commodity became scarce during the early days of the coronavirus, the message inside was heartfelt: “Miss You!” We only live about five miles apart, but we have not seen each other for months. I miss her, too.

I, too, have been sending cards, pictures of flowers taken from my garden. I joke that I am sending flowers through the mail.

Now it is my turn for generosity. If you would like a flower from my garden, let me know in the comment section, and I will send you one, no matter where you live.

During this dark time, getting something lovely or funny is such a comfort.

 

A Couple of not too Bad Pictures of a Hummingbird

Two weeks ago, on May 9, it snowed in Maine. Here is the picture to prove it.

Today, in the shade, the temperature was over 80° Fahrenheit, probably 85°  in the sun. What a difference two weeks can make in Maine.

This afternoon, I was going to divide and move some hostas but it seemed too hot to do this, both for me and the plants. I will go out tomorrow morning and tackle those hostas. (Frances Williams, one of the hostas, is a formidable plant to divide, especially now that I have arthritis in my hands, knees, and feet.)

In truth, the whole week has been warm but not too warm to take a picture of this cardinal,

and this little red squirrel peeking out.

And finally  a couple of not too bad pictures of a hummingbird.

Again, I will keep trying to get better pictures.

Stay tuned.

 

I’ll Keep Trying

Spring is most definitely here.

The lawns are abloom with tiny spring flowers that are not always easy for the wee camera to photograph. But by gum, yesterday the light must have been just right for the camera to capture this dandelion,

some violets,

and even this tiny flower on a plant I was given and have no idea what it is.

No blooms yet in the back garden, but I did come across this feather.

Even though there are no flowers, everything is growing splendidly, and I love the green of spring.

Yesterday, we put out the hummingbird feeders.

Already, the little will-o’-the-wisps have begun coming to the feeder.

It is not easy for me to get a picture of them, but I’ll keep trying.

Everything Is Waiting…

Despite the coronavirus, here we are at last, in spring, that green, blooming time of year. To paraphrase David Whyte’s moving poem, everything is waiting for me.

The ferns that continue to unfurl,

the tiny white violets on the lawn,

the tender blush of the newly emerging leaves,

and back inside, for our supper, a salad made with Farmer Kev’s greens and radishes, our neighbor’s eggs, and other bits and bobs.

Here is the last stanza of David Whyte’s Everything Is Waiting for You

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

Even now.

Always.

 

A blog about nature, home, community, books, writing, the environment, food, and rural life.