In the market today, I overheard a customer asking the clerk if people were honoring the face mask requirement. “Everyone is so done with face masks, and everyone is in a bad mood,” she replied. (In spite of her comments, everyone was wearing a mask, including the clerk.)
The face mask hadn’t bothered me, but I had been in a bad mood for a few days. Things that didn’t help:
Back in the mountains, I took my favorite walk along the river this morning. The forest showed no signs of Covid-19. New life was everywhere.
It took a while to find the wild sweet peas that I remembered from this time last year. They were few and far between on the forest floor, which made them all the more delightful when I spotted a few.
Above, enormous ravens and almost as large crows swooped from tree to tree. As I walked down the path, they called to their cousins up ahead: Beware of the human! They had an uncanny knack of avoiding the camera. I finally managed a fuzzy silhouette from a distance.
Honestly, I mean no harm.
As I retraced my steps, there was fresh scat next to the path, along with the faint scent of bear (similar to skunk, but not as obnoxious). The scat wasn’t there when I passed that way 10 minutes earlier. It was time to get my head out of the clouds and pay attention to my surroundings.
In his Holy Thursday homily, Pope Francis mentioned that over 60 priests had died in Italy from the Covid-19 virus after tending to the sick in the hospitals.
And then there was St. Marianne Cope. After many had declined the invitation, in 1883 she relocated to Hawaii to serve the ailing lepers. She wasn’t afraid of the contagion, and even after decades of service, she never contracted the disease.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, every sign of spring is precious.
In my courtyard, the plants pictured above survived the winter, including two or three snow storms and temperatures in the upper teens (Fahrenheit). Pictured upper left is my improbable petunia plant. Two summers ago it was an annual. Last summer it thrived as a biennial. This year it promises to thrive as a triennial. I can’t wait to see the pale lavender flowers that bloom in profusion.
Elsewhere, a beloved cousin is cheerfully thriving as she undergoes treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This post is for you, Sue.
Every year in my Discalced Carmelite Secular Community, we draw names to pray for each other and to pray for the priests, deacons, and religious in our diocese. We also draw the name of a virtue to practice during the year. For the last three years, I have drawn the virtue of fortitude. The first year, I thought, that’sinteresting. The second year, I thought, what a coincidence! This year, when I drew it again, I realized that I needed to give the virtue of fortitude some serious thought.
Pondering this virtue, I used to think of it in relation to the unpleasant tasks I needed to complete. Don’t give up, I would tell myself. Practice fortitude! Now, as my husband and I, along with so many others, must ‘shelter in place’ to avoid the Coronavirus, I realize that fortitude also pertains to all the things we would like to do but can’t, at least for the foreseeable future. In a way, ‘sheltering in place’ is a desert experience. We are separated from all the unnecessary activities with which we often distract ourselves.
The cacti in my garden practice fortitude better than I have ever done. In recent years, I have not paid much attention to them in favor of whatever was blooming in the garden. Yet, they have continued to survive, and even to thrive.