The title of this post may seem flippant when it comes to the subject of the Coronavirus, but I promise you it is not. I have been very on-edge for the past four days over the Coronavirus. I have a huge addiction to news sites and social media whenever we are in the midst of something that could cause any kind of change to the routine, and this has been no different. Over the weekend I was on the news sites at least every thirty minutes, if not more. Today I had work, which held me off of them for part of the day, while the other part was busy cleaning and sanitizing whatever I could. The urge to know is always there: Has the virus spread any more? Are there any confirmed cases any closer to where I live? Is my work going to close down? Being an Early Childhood administrator, that very well could happen, and sooner rather than later.
Which brings on the stress of money. Luckily this came about at a halfway decent time, with my tax return coming to me soon. Otherwise I would be worried sick about not working. But we are also going through the process of moving, which brings with it its own expenditures. Not great timing for that, but it couldn’t be helped, and will be addressed in another blog post.
I think about all of the social disturbance the Coronavirus is causing. People can’t function as they normally do. People can’t just run around town, or fly around the world. People have to slow down. Everyone has to slow down. As a culture we are not good at slowing down. Our capitalist culture tells us to constantly be going, grinding, being productive. If you aren’t productive then you aren’t doing what you should. If you aren’t producing, then you will be evicted, lights shut off, out on the street. The fear is very real, and I feel it. I feel the fear of being made to slow down, of what it would mean to my family.
There’s another aspect of slowing down. Slowing down requires a turning inward. But that is also not something that our culture is good at. It is like the flowers in the picture I chose to accompany this blog post. On one hand they are ready to burst, ready to show themselves in the glory of spring. But on the other, there is snow, which comes at the ultimate time of slowing down and turning inward. It almost feels like a war between being outward and turning inward. Which will win in the end? Of course we know that spring wins out in the end, because the circle of life, the circle of the seasons keeps turning. The weather gets warmer and we say goodbye to the snow until winter comes around again. Because snow, too, shall pass.
For me, the message of this whole year so far has seemed to be about turning inward. I have already been sick a lot since the beginning of the year (not from Coronavirus), and have had to be okay with slowing down and not being productive all the time. It is hard. The fear of not being able to fulfill monetary obligations and responsibilities is real. Yes, I live paycheck to paycheck. Early Childhood Educators do not make much money, and despite my desire to be an herbalist, I am nowhere near realizing that dream yet (although I do hear that herbalists don’t make all that much money either). I have a family that counts on me and my productivity to keep a roof over our heads and food on our table.
I heard so many people say at the beginning of this Emperor year that this year was going to be one of shattering the status quo, of seeing old systems collapse to make way for new systems. With the rise of this pandemic one of the first systems to shake will be our capitalist system with its wealth concentrated in the hands of the top 1%. The people who are going to suffer the most are going to be the people in poverty, who make minimum wage, who live paycheck to paycheck. The ones whose jobs make them come in even though they have no one to watch their children who are out of school because the schools shut down. The ones who have to go in to work even though their job could be done remotely from home, making them more likely to catch the Coronavirus. These are the people who will suffer the most, with the government’s drawn-out attempt at relief becoming another excuse for political grandstanding.
And yet, at the end of the day, we have to recognize that this, too, shall pass. The Coronavirus will fade (if only to come back again next winter perhaps). Life will go on, life that is altered for those who lost loved ones or jobs. Systems will be shaken, but perhaps not enough for them to change at this time. Eyes may be opened, but that remains to be seen. All we know for now is that change is coming.