I’ve been reading apocolyptic poetry and obsessively checking the air quality index on my phone for days. It’s 2020 and no juxtaposition of tragic things seem unusual anymore. Maybe one of the greatest, albeit unintended, consequences of the times has been the randomness of things coming together. My color palette is shifting. I’m falling dangerously in love with different shades of blue. I’m listening to thick, heavy books read by others. I’m driving down roads I’ve never seen. I have a plan to put purple in my hair in October.
I catch myself thinking I should have kept a better journal of this year. I’d imagine stitching together my shreds of thought and binding it into a book I’d call Twelve Months. But is that where it ends ? Or is that where it begins ? Do my musings really matter in the scheme of things ? I imagine there will be a million books like that released into the world by early next year. Will any of them matter ?
In reading of the apocolypse I’m aware of several different endings, from bang to whimper. There is fire and ice and the dissolving of soft tissue. There is war and struggle. There is always a falling away. Is this how it all ends ?
It won’t be the virus that kills us. Even as I imagine a slow suffocation, we will keep gasping for air and move through this. One gulp at a time. One impassioned plea after another: “Keep breathing” “Hang on”.
It won’t be fire that swallows us up. Flames rising, all the world, tinder. Persistence, water, blood, sweat and tears will all come together to extinguish the inferno and calm the blaze. Life bursts through the ashes. I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes. I’ve walked through the renewal of a forest ravaged by fire. I know that beneath the burning embers, there were seeds of life burrowing deeper. A plan for rebirth even as the heat rose dangerously above.
No, it won’t be these things.
I’m imagining that our demise lies somewhere in the chasm. The division has become so deep, so wide between us, that we cannot safely cross. If this is to be a story of healing, we need ladders and bridges. We need the rungs to rest safely on both sides as we crawl to the safety of a middle place.
I think I know what I need to do.
I need to piece together ladders of whatever I can find. Bits of paper and paint, wood and steel. Time to shut off the phone, quiet the noise. Time to fold the pages of apocolyptic poetry into slats and rungs and steps. I need to be a part of the rescue team.
It is both the most and the least I can do. Onward ..
” Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal … ” -Rumi