New, or rarely used phrases have emerged over the past few weeks. Most notably are the phrases Corona Virus and COVID-19. No longer in a far away place the pandemic quickly reached our communities in the United States. It has many of us in a lockdown. Or as another phrase goes for this “shelter in place”.
Duck and Cover
Being a product of the nineteen sixties and the cold war I remember the phrase “duck and cover”. It was meant to describe the action to take in the event of a atomic attack. I recall being a child in grammar school and being trained how to duck and cover under our desks. As if ducking under a desk was going to save me and my school mates from explosions. Explosions that create divots the size of a small towns or the accompanying intense heat.
I don’t remember if these duck and cover drills scared me or kept me up at night. I don’t recall if I realized the fruitlessness of being a sitting duck in a soon to be liquified school house. But the memory of these drills does call to mind a scene in one of my favorite movies, “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid”.
The Hole In The Wall Gang
Butch (played by Paul Newman) and Sundance (Robert Redford) were trapped on a mountain side by the posse sent out to arrest or kill them. Thinking they were trapped Butch points out that they could jump into the raging river a couple of hundred feet below them. Sundance is against making the jump saying, as he reloaded his pistol, that he’d rather stay there and fight. After being prodded by Butch Sundance finally admits that he can’t swim. Butch let’s out a hearty laugh and tells Sundance, “Don’t know how to swim, hell, the fall will probably kill us!” They jump and they go onto fight another day. But that was a movie an not real life.
Real life, and real scary, is COVID-19 for which a vaccine is still months away. Many communities, like mine, have been asked to shelter in place and if we have to leave our homes for “essential” items we should practice “social distancing’. Two more phrases that seem to dominate our conversations, newsprint, social media, and
new temporary way of life.
Meanwhile, I’m grateful to be living in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and sheltering at The Golden K. Sure, there are plenty of things to remind me that even a small community like mine needs to take the same precautions as a major metropolitan area. But there are also so many beautiful things, maybe not available in those big cities, that can help to take the edge off these crazy times, even if for a few minutes. The screeching of a hawk flying through the crisp early morning sky. The does and fawns foraging for food as they pass by my open space. Storm clouds forming above the mountain ridge.
Or a walk on an empty country road like the one I took this morning where the air was cool, my mind was calm, and world events stopped just for a few minutes and long enough to renew my romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.