I walk around a large barn, rockwalled on one side, more like a large garage, cement floored; beyond are open spaces revealed and then concealed by the clouds and mists, retreating and advancing. The land glows green.
In this time of pestilence, which seems in abeyance here, waiting beyond, yet permeating the mind with its weight of the fraught, of the impending end—and yet across the road the avocado tree is in full bloom, its tiny green flowers myriad, promising.
Allie, who works with the horses (I live on a horse sanctuary), has planted taro, called kalo here, in a raised bed in front of this barn. Horse poop has been laid over the soil. There is an indigenous hope in these plants, their unfurling vivid green leaves and their dark rhizomes mostly hidden, growing, growing, doing their work in the dark.
I wake up too early these days. I can’t go back to sleep usually; the pandemic drifting in my waking thoughts. The awareness simply there. I went to the pharmacy, masked and gloved. They have put tables in front of the pharmacy windows to attempt a forced distance, but people lean in over these. I pull off the gloves outside, an edge of guilt in such waste being made in colossal quantities.
The images of the virus are legion, it somehow reminds me of something out of Dr. Who. I think of the Christian doctrine of the holy ghost, depicted in various artworks as a dove. Sometimes called the paraclete (an advocate of sorts). An apparition, yet with a physical form, inchoate and yet…very material.
A strand of RNA encapsulated in a protein shell with spikes which give a corona quality that virologists found reminiscent of the solar corona, that aura of plasma emanating from the sun. Whoa–the virus takes us metaphorically in language chains to some surprising places.
A vast net of suffering and yet out of all this something appears that many are noticing: a greater sense of our planetary interconnectedness. Awareness that flutters in and out of our anxieties. Something that emerged out of the jagged tears and rips in the world of late capitalism, the implacable relentless growth destroying and destorying forests, turning the seas into plastic soups, leaving so many people dehumanized and stripped of the rich, complex stories that we need as much as nutrients and vitamins….
The novel coronavirus is something that has arrived, that has appeared and changes the world. In the tensions between what was and the unknown what will be a liminal space, that of Janus the god of doors with his two faces of beginnings and endings, signifies.
You’ve come to slay
and rip off the bandages
from our eyes, to reassert
most painful truths
uncomfortable as exploding
while malign power brokers
shuffle, like rabid elephants,
dust clouds of obfuscation.