summer is soon going to draw to a close. it’s august 10 and with today’s feel-like at 96, it’s clearly not anytime too soon. but soon enough.
this summer has been unlike any other. in our deference to the pandemic we have limited ourselves to that which we believe shows regard to recommendations given so as not to be responsible for spreading this. we’ve worn masks. we’ve social distanced. we’ve not eaten in restaurants or stood by barstools sipping wine in enclosed spaces. we haven’t shopped in department stores or had people over in our home, and, differing from every other summer we have had together, we haven’t traveled. it has been unlike any other.
but that isn’t the case for everyone. people have flocked to the beaches and water parks. people have traveled to hot spots – on purpose, in the name of looking for a break. people are eating in restaurants and are gathered at bars and at big backyard barbecues. people are singing in indoor venues and are clustered on sandbars. people have gone to little towns, vacationing and, with the it-won’t-happen-to-us mindset, placing the locale at risk, placing the locals and the health care system in that locale in a precarious way. hundreds of thousands of people are headed to or are gathered in sturgis right now. it’s their summer. and, if you scroll through facebook, it’s not a heck of a lot different than their last summer.
i read a quote today that spoke to the sturgis crowds. “there are people throughout america who have been locked up for months and months,” was the excuse for an influx into this town of 7000. i have to disagree. any instagram or facebook peek will reveal that people are not locked up; many people have lived summer just like they always live summer: any way they want.
in the attention-deficit way of america, many people have simply moved on and their temporarily-outward-gaze has shift-key-shifted selfishly inward. but we are still out here: mask-wearers, social-distancers, stay-close-to-homers, quietly and not-so-quietly trying to mitigate this time. and we can see the others so we are disappointed, saddened and stressed and we are riding the long-limbo-wave of impossible decision-making.
the masses have spoken – at least in this country – and freedom (read: independence from the government mandating for the safety of all) rules.
but freedom isn’t free, as the old up with people song points out, “freedom isn’t free. you’ve got to pay the price, you’ve got to sacrifice, for your liberty.”
i suppose that our sacrifices count, little as that might be in the big picture. as this pandemic continues to rage, as chaos continues to ensue, as relationships shatter over disease-disagreement, our not going to wine-knot matters, our crossing-the-road-to-the-other-sidewalk counts, our consistent mask-wearing-social-distancing makes a difference. it just doesn’t feel that way. the bigger picture looks bleak and my heart sinks looking ahead, fall and winter just over the we-have-so-many-unanswered-questions horizon. whether they (in a countrywide sense) are exercising caution or not, our little part is significant.
the up with people song continues, “but for every man freedom’s the eternal quest. you’re free to give humanity your very best.”
what is our very best? individually? collectively?
perhaps a nationwide shift-key would be of value.
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