Paying Attention Bill McDonald’s
July 2021 - Volume 21, No. 7
Well, I Reckon
For me, fortunately, it was almost too easy.
For those many months…
I could hide in my house, and also in my office just a half mile away.
Nobody close to me died of “the Covid.”
I got vaccinated four and five months ago without any problems.
My particular clientele were not the ones who suffered the most (at least on the surface). It was as if I kept in touch with the rest of the world primarily through their own many narratives - as well iPhone news sources. (I’ve long lived separately from TV networks.)
The social parts of my life withered away - as if almost too easily forgotten. I didn’t have to pay much attention to gasoline prices. I dutifully wore a mask when I was out. I felt no need to rebel. I kept close counsel, and my cat still knew when to expect his meals (or beg when I was late).
My grocery store was about a mile away. And I found myself shopping there late in the evening hours - when there were few fellow shoppers. (They call it ‘social distancing’.)
Late the other afternoon, I went grocery shopping - some final preparation for the Holiday weekend.
I didn’t wear a mask, nor did most others. I found I could smile and greet others with a delightful ease. And others did so in response. It was fun! A veil had been lifted, the air seemed lighter. Outside it was a cooler day - without that “heat dome.” The sun was shining, blue sky, clean clouds.
As if we’re coming out from under.
“The Reckoning” (Mary L Trump)
A year ago, Mary L Trump, PhD - our recent President’s clinical psychologist niece, gave usToo Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (2020). I found it a very enlightening and agreeable read. (But then we are sort of professional cousins.)
Now Mary Trump is releasing The Reckoning: Our Nation's Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal. Its release date is Tuesday, August 17, and Amazon Prime will have it at my doorstep on that day. I’ve been looking forward to it since I heard her speaking about it last Fall. I like her title, and I trust her judgment.
I assume it will be much less about her uncle Donald, and more about us. When a clinical psychologist speaks about “healing”, it’s about an often lengthy and painful process that involves a lot of looking deeply inward, a lot of Reckoning.
“Well, I Reckon…”
I hear that word in the context of the phrase “well I reckon…” as in some classic black and white movies. It’s not the word of a professional or an expert from on high who has researched the matter and is ready to present their conclusion. Rather it’s some deep thinking or concluding from within a ‘common folk’ heritage.
Yes, we as a nation have a lot to deal with now. A lot of damage has been done, and continues. Yes, that’s what I’m looking for and needing now.
Fireworks or Thunder
I’ve been writing this during the Holiday Weekend of July 4.The evening after my visit to the grocery store, I was writing here in the dark, and I heard outside an almost steady booming sound. I wondered if it were fireworks, or thunder. I stepped outside, the sky had stars, and I determined it was fireworks. I took that as a sign that I should write from a place of celebration.
Then tonight, one night later, the actual eve of the “fourth” I heard the same sound out in the darkness, and looked out again. This time, off in the distance, it was actually thunder - almost the same sound but this time as if an ominous sound of warning.
Then I knew.
The lightness I felt when grocery shopping was a gift, not a sign that the troubles were over and we could return to life as we had known it, but that we could enjoy a boost of hope and energy by which to newly engage.
That lightness I felt carried a lot of meaning for me. It’s much more than just a return to where we were a year and a half ago (before masks, before so much death and suffering, before so much isolation and confusion, before so many mistakes, before so much quiet heroism of common folk).
Much will never be the same. And so much must needs never be the same.
Every year one of my radio stations will read the entire Declaration of Independence. And the words spoke out - that all people are created equal...
Yes, the celebration of the better parts of our history is right. But the thunder behind can clear the air, so that we can be energized for the the work, the tasks, the battles ahead.
Indeed, breathe deeply.The Reckoning has only just begun.
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