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Cheryl Cook: To everything there is a season

Other Voices
Cheryl Cook

“A time to tear and a time to mend.”

“It’s a good thing you had those tights under your skirt, Cheryl. Your legs just flew up when you fell back.”

On your wrist. Dislocated. Broken in two places.

Following the initial visit to the ER, there were follow-up visits to radiology and orthopedics. With each visit the protective measures grew stronger and the staff and patients seemed to grow kinder.

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When we open our doors and step outside again, it will be yet another time. Look up!

I was to rest and let the wrist mend. But I am not alone. Most of the country is now restricted from their former lives by self quarantine.

“A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.”

We send our husbands off to the market looking like Black Bart dressed in protective bandana and leather gloves, on the trail of the last stalk of broccoli. We wave to friends at the top of the driveway and thank God for those that keep connected with emails, texts, and a beautiful book with the handwritten inscription left quietly on the front porch bench.

We attempt to remain calm while we watch the trajectory of cases and fatalities soar like the exhaust trail of a Cape Canaveral rocket above all other global nations.

The U.S. leads the world in cases of the coronavirus. With one-fourth the population of China, we have doubled their number of cases. How did this happen?

“A time to be silent and a time to speak.”

I have chosen to turn off the blare of the government public address system:

“It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be fine.”

“It is very much under control in the U.S.”

“Stock market starting to look very good to me!”

“Fifteen cases will be going down to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

“Its like the flu.”

“We’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”

“It could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens.”

“The risk to the American people remains very low.”

“In April, supposedly, it goes away with the warm weather.”

“Anybody who wants a test can get a test.”

“I think it’s very safe” (to hold rallies).

“I envision packed churches on Easter.”

On April 3, headlines read “Seventy one people from Sacramento area church have Covid-19.”

This highly contagious virus kills. The stupidity kills, too.

Now is not the time for assigning responsibility. Especially when truth-seeking journalists get humiliated and shut out of press conferences. When governors seeking PPE and ventilators without the required quota of praise and adulation may find their state put on the slow list.

But, just maybe, a few more of us will have come to the realization that science matters. That illusion is a fancy, but dangerous form of deceit. And, in a time of crisis, it is facts and scientific data that should shape policy and actions.

Because all the downplaying, misinformation, hunches and sugar-coated lies don’t prolong our lives. They disrespect and defile them. We lost precious time while the virus spread even wider.

“A time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Will I return to dance classes? Our amazing dance instructor had taken a group of atrophying grandmothers and turned us into an armada of confident and colorful Sevillana dancers. She zipped us up in her own closet of slinky polka dotted ruffles, pinned bright flowers in the middle of our heads, and challenged us to find the rhythms of human interconnectedness through the music of a foreign heartbeat. She recently asked us to video ourselves dancing so she could edit them into one blended video. To bring us together again during a time of isolation.

She knew about fear, illness, and isolation. She had been away from us during a period of healing and recovering from a life threatening illness. She had returned stronger than ever! No costume. No makeup. No hair color. I danced then, for the first time since the fall … lugging the heavy cast around like a reluctant partner.

“Send me another video,” she said. “You are looking down in this one. Remember to look up. Look up!”

The truth. It was the truth. I laughed because that’s really all that we ever want.

“A time to be born and a time to die.”

It is as if the Creator whispered, “Divisiveness? You want people to go back where they came from? You want to call each other names based on their political view? You want xenophobic nationalism? You want to take children and put them in cages to punish their parents? I will show you what that world looks like …”

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

Meanwhile, the air and water are clearing. When we open our doors and step outside again, it will be yet another time. Look up!

I miss you too, Ronnie.

Cheryl Cook lives in Penn Valley.


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