Ship of Tools
In a crisis when a hug and holding hands could help in coping with mass hysteria, circumstance demands that we isolate ourselves. Made necessary to protect us physically, if prolonged, the practice poses challenge to our mental well-being.
To the positive is that as China flattens its corona virus curve, we’re seeing the emergence of a restorative one, as public places being to reopen doors.
From when I began to walk, I felt at home in a seemingly endless meadow, thick with grass and wildflower. I walked that field alone, unafraid of rodents and snakes, not jolted by the fierce neighs of a wild horse in the distance. Growing up, I realized I didn’t really walk alone. I had my large German Shepherd for nanny; a companion I missed deeply after my family emigrated from Italy.
When I first began teaching in Toronto, children would bring in their pets, regardless of how unusual they might seem. One brought in a field mouse. She had found it in her garage, seeking warmth in the face of the approaching winter. We named her Susie. After transferring our adopted and trembling Susie from the cardboard box to an airy cage, we added a hamster wheel to keep her entertained. She seemed to be adapting happily for awhile, but in a gradual shift she began to turn away from her food. One morning when I walked into the classroom, I found Susie’s tiny frame curled up in a corner. She was cold to the touch, and her body was hard as stone. The students were convinced that Susie died of loneliness out of missing her family and friends.
Our extended stay on the planet would suggest that as a global ship it harbored all the tools we needed for staying alive. Perhaps as we moved to believe that we’d outgrown those tools, we played down their worth. Blasting our way through earth’s supportive layers and covering large portions over with the massive structures that we've built, we gave way to a host of dubious motives. Inadvertently, we severed our connections to supportive lines that sustain the planet and supply the energy that fuels our life.
On another optimistic front, given that it was at least in part our curious and adventurous nature that led us here, our intelligent and caring nature should be able to guide us to a blueprint where we can begin to right the wrongs within our power. At a time when our lens are being refocused to see the globe as a single village, it is in holding hands (virtually for now) that we will hear the lessons missed along the way, and be open to the new ones…