It looks like we are finally beginning to emerge from the depths of the pandemic. The White House announced that 50% of adults have been vaccinated. Case numbers are down. What has your life been like these last fifteen months? Has it felt like 17 years buried in your cave, alone, dependent on others – family, friends, a huge infrastructure of helpers to keep you supplied with necessities? Have you felt isolated, disconnected, needing those same family and friends, a huge infrastructure of technology to keep you connected? And for entertainment, learning, information about the world around us? It’s been odd, disorienting, a struggle for some, and also something of a relief for those of us who are introverts.
What sort of changes are you experiencing now? Are you fully vaccinated and feeling somewhat safer? Are relaxed masking mandates changing your behavior? Here at White Horse Village, over 90% of the residents are vaccinated and we are allowed to gather in small to medium groups, unmasked. Meal delivery is ending as we return to the dining room. But in public situations – which for me means grocery stores and my pottery class – I am still masked, for the sake of the unvaccinated and unknown passers-by. I feel like I am finally emerging.
Meanwhile, another emergence is beginning. Brood X of the 17 year cicadas have spent most of a lifetime as underground larvae and nymph forms, eating and growing and shedding old forms to begin coming out in their millions, ready to make a lot of noise so as to ensure the next generation the 17 year cycle. I learned recently that they are not only harmless (assuming you don’t panic when one gets into your car while you are driving) but actually beneficial. My old friend Carol Wagner (with whom I connected again via Facebook, after many years) posted these facts from the Love Our Land website:
- • They prune mature trees.
- • They aerate the soil.
- • Bird populations will increase.
- • They provide a food source to nearly everything with an insect diet.
- • They leave plants healthier.
- • They are an awesome natural fertilizer.
- • They are a symbol of rebirth, spiritual realization and ecstasy, and immortality.
There’s a challenge! The UUFP board points out that we have never been “closed” but we have been connecting virtually all these months, shedding old forms and preparing to emerge again to in-person meeting for worship and celebration, learning and helping. (See our website for more details on the decision process on how and when we hope to meet.)
But, as we look forward to emergence, let’s think about more than “getting back to normal.” For the cicadas, “normal” is 17 years underground followed by a brief but glorious symphony of mating calls and commitment to the next generation. How do we want to celebrate our return to the above ground world? What have we learned from our time apart? What new energy can we bring? How shall we bless the world?
With love and hope, Kerry