Updated: Mar 21
The storm is not coming, it is here. Those of us who can, have retreated into our caves, hoping to hunker down and weather this through. We know that this is a slow and uncertain storm, and we are unsure if we are safe inside. We do not pretend to be ignorant of those outside who are certainly unsafe.
This is no longer fiction, it is now.
How are you, in all this? Do you have enough food, water, and ways to protect yourself from this? Are you worried about money, how to pay for the bills, how to earn it, what is next? The food tomorrow, the food next week? A house tomorrow? A house next week? Is it adjustment, school requirements, being in one place for an extended period? Is it about being alone for longer than you have ever been? All these uncertainties, all these questions, and the answers trickle in slowly — and some of them flow in, thick with the mud of the outside world, undrinkable, offering no comfort.
How are you, in all this? How strange that we are all told that it is best now, to stay in, to be distant. I am alone, as I write this. I refuse to go where there are those I know who are at risk. I am alone in all this, in my cave, watching this unsteady storm outside. And I know I will be alone for some time yet. This is strange, what I feel, as I have never really been afraid of loneliness. But this feels different. One, I did not choose it. Two, it is as if the whole world around me is being moved by an unseen hand to do this with me. Go into your caves and practice distance. But what is distance? Distance is strange to us.
I’m not naive. I know I have the privilege to sit down and think about these things, but that’s exactly it. This thing, this phenomena happening all around the world is making us cut down all but what is essential to us. You, reading this, have the time and space to do so. So I speak to you. What do we do? What can we do? Sit with me for a little while and see. Look around yourself, what do you see? Perhaps it’s an unmade bed. Perhaps it’s a pile of books. Perhaps it’s a person or the lack of one. Bed, books, person or lack of, there is action to be done there, a thing that can be done. The making of a bed, the reading of a book, the acknowledgement of presence or absence. There’s your start.
This thing has made us keep our distance from others, but also perhaps, made us closer, finally, to what is here with us. Sit with me here, for a little while and be with yourself. Your body, for instance, the thing that is nearest to us, here with us all the time. How is it? How are your feet, your hands, your head, your scalp? How are your eyes? How is your breathing? How does your body feel? Perhaps there is tension there, behind your neck. Well, what can you do with that tension? Perhaps there is tension there, behind your eyes. Well, what does that tension want? Is it release, is it comfort, is it hope? Muscles, bones, breath, there is action to be done there, your body is a thing that can be understood, to which one can give thought, attention, and comfort. There’s your start.
And here we are, by ourselves, perhaps given time and space to be with ourselves. How do we feel about that? What is in us, running through our minds, in the spaces between our eyes, what is there? Who are you thinking of? What are you worried about? What does this say about you? Who, what, where are you really? Are we brave enough to ask these things — because to ask these things and to look inside now, perhaps, is an entry point to truly know yourself. You are given time and space to observe what is you, inside you, so will you take it? Your thoughts, your emotions, your impulses are you, and they can be noticed, observed, and hopefully, eventually understood. There’s your start.
All this distance, all this space, but also all this nearness, all this nearness we may never have had the time for before. It is here now.
There is a surreal quality to time. I sit here feeling as if I am moving in a dream state, watching the world outside me unfold and unravel. I sit here feeling all this time and space, that creeping, uncertain crawl of situation after situation, and not just outside, but also inside. I sit here and close my eyes and finally allow myself nearness to myself.
What is distance? What is nearness? What will time teach us about it?
I am not sure. But there's the start.
Write to me, tell me your thoughts, maybe then we can generate more nearness that can bridge all this distance. Maybe in this we can all know ourselves more, and so also know what it is that can bring us all, ultimately, together.
In Love and Truth,