… Herbs, tiny carrots, green beans, and lettuces, all from our garden.
Enrique and I are quarantined in the countryside here in Colombia. We are healthy, secure, and safe. We are away from the city because the potentials of violence are more real in Colombia than in California. The virus is here in Colombia. It came late, but it’s now here, and the fears that come with it are expanded because of the still developing nation status of Colombia.
We had planned to go back to California for the March events of course, and when they were postponed until December, we thought we’d go back anyway. Yes, we’ll go; no we’ll stay. No we’re going to go anyway; no definitely we are staying here. A doctor friend had told us of that soon no one would be allowed in or out of Colombia and that lockdowns were coming for the States and for Colombia. With that news our final decision was easy.
All this happened on the eve of a long holiday weekend here. The Governor of our state, Valle de Cauca, called for a curfew during the long weekend as a way to keep people home and away from large celebratory gatherings. A few other Governors and the Mayor of Bogotá did the same. However the Colombian President, perhaps angry that they went ahead without letting him make a national decree, cancelled the curfews say that "social distancing was absurd." Sadly a familiar cry by some others who claim to be leaders. However, the Governors and Mayors countermanded the President with an outcry of support from the people.
Curfew in place, it was followed by a nationwide lockdown. We had prepared for the four day curfew, but then we had to scramble to prepare for three week lockdown. Thousands of Colombians had to scramble too. However, a country that seems to thrive on chaos, handled the situation well. We loaded up one car with the dogs, their supplies, and with Enrique’s dialysis machine with its many supplies. Another car was overloaded with our stuff. Then we were off to the country.
We were worried though. There was a deadline time for leaving the city and we were late. Of course. [s] We might be stopped and turned back or fined or both. We worked a bit of magic and we headed out. The otherwise gridlocked road was almost free of cars, trucks, and people. We moved quickly coming to and then driving past two potential military check points. We reached the final curve in the main road and our turnoff was just ahead. As we turned from the paved road to the open road (narrow dirt road with its share of ruts and boulders) we looked ahead. The military check point was about 100 yards beyond our turn off. Magic was afoot. We will be here until Easter at least. There is talk of extending the quarantine for those over 70 or even for everyone.
These are painful times and tragic times and the days are rife with fear, and people are dying and people are loosing everything and people are getting lost. The dark and darkening chaos exacerbates the situation threatening the unspeakable of the unknown or of an abyss. In the mire of darkness, of pain, tragedy and fear, I think of what Lazaris said in South Africa: He said that we stood on a pinnacle and that things were about to get worse. Where and how we stepped from that pinnacle were crucial. He added what I thought was an aside: Things are about to get much worse. I also think about what Lazaris said as the Vermont days were concluding: It’s time to be the Sentinel, the Champion, and the Guardian that we always have planned to be and that we are destined to be.
So I am being conscious of where I step and how I step. Where? Into the chaos. How? With resolve.
I am stepping into the dark and then into the darkest parts of that chaos and in that depth, I am looking for the light. It’s there. Simply said, I found that light in the beauty and in the love. The dark chaos is neither beautiful or loving; this novel virus is not beautiful and it’s not loving. But in the darkest chaos, and I think it has to be the chaos beyond the dark and darker, the chaos that is the darkest, there is hope. Not the hope of desperation or last resort, and not my hope. In that darkest chaos, there is the shimmering hope that is a reflection of the soul and spirit of humankind. It’s not the hope that any of us can muster. It’s beyond what we can create. Luminous hope? Divine hope? Yeah.
Oh, such a cliche, right? It can be that and it can be no more than a platitude, and when we argue for our limitations, we get them. I don’t know what that hope should be called. Maybe luminous and divine smack too much of cliche or platitude. Maybe it’s "hope without a name," hope beyond our imaginations and beliefs, maybe it’s "unfathomable hope." Whatever we might choose to call it or not call it, it’s there.
And this hope is beauty, and is love. Not beautiful and loving, it’s beauty and it’s love. And I know without the need for certainty, that this shimmering hope is there in the darkest recesses of the chaos of this virus. It is waiting to be found.
I also feel that this hope is the secret to the healing that Covid-19 is calling for. Healing doesn’t always fix things and return them to the ways they were. Healing changes things and offers the opportunity to make things anew. I feel that this hope-beauty-love shimmering light is at the core of healing the devastation of the Coronavirus and at the core what we need for the growing and changing in which we and our world are involved.
So we will wash the vegetables from our garden. We will stay healthy and safe, and we will work our magic.