Dratts! This COVID pandemic can drive a good Christian woman to groan and moan or even cuss on occasions when she might briefly forget who is sovereign. We could not have imagined, here in 2020, that over twenty million Americans would become infected, and that we would be catapulted from our easy days filled with blessings to those of complete isolation, loss of jobs, challenges in finding the vaccine and, yes, even basic paper products! And, what about these conspiracy theories? Law! Law!
Not one soul has been untouched by how the pandemic has changed our lives. Each day we’ve learned new terms such as lockdown, shelter-in-place, social distancing and, with time, have learned to be obedient to them. We’re grappling from being separated from our sweet families including our most vulnerable youngest and eldest, and our co-workers, friends & classmates, and especially those with whom we worship each Sunday. Even the new mandatory accessory of the mask and directive of washing our hands for a full twenty seconds have ordered our new normal lives.
But, I think Appalachian folks are particularly resilient and can more easily navigate hard times such as this pandemic. I did not live the difficult days that my grandparents and their parents did here in our mountains, but I’ve read their diaries and journals and know that their days demanded fortitude and courage. They managed. And they rallied to help one another with very little moaning and groaning. They took one day at a time and met that challenge on that day without worrying about tomorrow. Why, you remember many occasions such as the blizzards, droughts and even coal mine incidents that absolutely broke hearts but not their indomitable spirits? Don’t you think that it was, in part, because of the need for self-sufficiency during those early pioneer days?
Thankfully, every harsh season is eventually spent or, at least, becomes tolerable as we become more accustomed to it. Our resolve to find ways to compensate for the current pandemic trauma has led many to rediscover past interests and hobbies such as reading, baking, gardening, music or, perhaps, basket weaving, woodworking and needlework among many others. Maybe some have been especially thankful like me to have our computers to stay in touch with the world and to be encouraged that we’re not the only ones to feel as we do. Others have broken the boundaries of isolation to renew their joy in acceptable ways by hiking or simply sitting in their own backyards to listen to birds and observe nature even in its minuscule offerings. One just has to be quiet and deliberate in avoiding news and, instead, to fill up with the abundant goodness of a vibrant rainbow, a field full of lightning bugs emerging from the ground or a bright full buck moon.
As for me, I often day dream of escaping under the cover of night to a perfect shelter-in-place location. It would be a beautiful cabin, not necessarily a logged one, but it would definitely have a deep covered porch. Several very comfy chairs with soft blankets would be situated within six-feet distance of each other but also within view of those whom might want to come along with me. Each chair would have a short stack of books yet to be published and authored by folks who were both great story tellers as well as amazing word smiths. Mugs of coffee would be offered and seasoned just right with cream and sweetener and they would magically stay hot & full all day long. The views just off of this porch must be majestic with fields of glorious flowers, layered mountains ridges and sunsets … or moon rises. Won’t you come dream with me?
“No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear.”
Greg Kincaid: American Lawyer & Author of a Dog Named Christmas