If any of us ever felt that life was a dress rehearsal for something else, that we did not need to be our best unique and beautiful selves regardless of circumstance, that we could let things slide, or let others step up, now is the time to let go of those crazy ideas and draw on our deepest resources. I invite you (and me) to use all our tools, training, presence of mind, and presence of heart to face each other, look each other in the eye and say “I am with you”. Whatever our background, we have much to offer to help make this pandemic period and future social and economic recovery period better for everyone. Look around and see who you can help, how you can help, and let yourself care for others and also for yourself. This pandemic may be the unwitting dismantler of many things including our assumptions about the direction life and society would take, but what really counts is how we respond now, and that we take this opportunity to create new structures with a eye to economic, social and ecological resilience and food security. Many are voicing the possibility of a positive paradigm shift coming out of the dramatic changes we are all witnessing.
Physical Distancing | Social Solidarity I read the Canadian news daily, and noticed that Canadians have adopted “physical distancing” as their term of preference, as there is widespread recognition that social closeness is something to be nurtured and preserved. I also believe that “physical distancing” is a better term than “social distancing” for what we need to do to flatten the curve, and “social solidarity” will be required for us to recover from the lengthy process of pandemic management on which we have recently embarked. There has been a lot of focus on virtual connections, but there are many more to ways to connect than just virtually!
8 pm Bell-Ringing In mid-late March communities all over began to join in expressing solidarity through the pandemic by ringing bells, banging pots, playing instruments (and in NYC) howling. This is a wonderful outpouring of heart and soul, connecting to each other through sound, that uplifts the spirit. On my fortnightly excursion to go shopping, I met someone in Agway today who had not heard of the bell-ringing, but plans now to talk to his neighbors and begin tonight.
Together Separately In Vermont, our rural and often secluded living helps us maintain physical distance, but I notice neighbors walking the roads and trails together separately. How about we each bring our own coffee and visit outdoors while maintaining physical distance? And there is always the Vermont car-wave!
Creative use of ZOOM Many people are working from home through Zoom or other meeting platforms but new uses for these platforms are emerging (necessity being the mother of invention). I ran into a neighbor who was on her way to a cocktail party on Zoom, and I read today of night clubs forming on Zoom that required a cover charge, costumes and a cocktail to get in!
Musical Collaboration Here is a wonderful musical expression of Together Separately using Zoom for you to enjoy:
Social, Economic and Other Resources Windham Regional Commission has compiled a list of currently known programs and activities relevant to people living in Southeastern Vermont. If you’re in immediate need of assistance, please call Vermont’s Resource Line by dialing 2-1-1 about help and resources.
Creating Our Own Food Security Garden seeds have been selling out all over the country and resourceful people are already planting their Victory Gardens. This will be a great boon to supplement the damaged food supply, since many agricultural workers who normally plant, cultivate and harvest the food we eat are not able to enter the country for various reasons. Even now, crops are rotting in Southern fields unable to be harvested and shipped to market. Equally, new crops will not be able to be planted without farm workers.
Support local food producers: buy from farmer's markets, small holders, farmers, cheese-makers, pastured meat producers, CSAs, bakeries, herbalists and others. We are lucky to have so much local food available, and they will help us get through the next year or two. EBT gets you 2-for-1 dollars at many Farmer's Markets.
Plant more than you need so you may share with a neighbor or the Food Shelf when the time comes. If you need help, ask your neighbors to join in the garden chores with you.
Offer to help at local farms if they are having trouble getting their normal field hands into the country. Anyone seen Land Girls?
COVID-19 Please keep on washing your hands regularly and don't forget to wash your face a few times a day as well. Soap and water is very effective for removing the virus. Wearing a mask in public is helpful to slow airborne transmission from speaking. This illness affects each person differently, so please err on the side of caution if you develop any symptoms, please call the office for phone triage, supportive care, and possible referral for testing. Testing Update This is a constantly changing situation. The local testing site at Landmark College has closed, but testing is available at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital with a referral from me. Current practice is to test only one person per family even if multiple members are ill. Clear Choice MD also offers testing but does not take referrals and require you to see their doctors to evaluate whether or not you need testing. If you do go there, please give them our fax number (802-419-3790) and name so the results will also come to us.
Something fun for Everyone Here in Vermont we are blessed with forests, mountains, wetlands and rivers. There is much more going on out there in the natural world than you might think! The Wood Wide Web: How trees secretly talk to and share with each other | The Kids Should See This