Let It Be
I was sweeping out the garage on this final day of 2020. As I swept the dust and debris into the dustpan, I noticed a bright green rhinestone slide in with the dirt. I picked it up and twirled it between my fingers. The stone gleamed like an emerald as I turned it toward the sun, and I paused to think about this last year. It was a year of darkness. A new virus terrified the world, spread death across the globe and destroyed economies. Racial injustice begot angry rhetoric and caused riots in the streets. The US president denied the results of a fair election and hung on by his fingernails, almost dismantling democracy in the process. 2020 was a roller coaster ride with most of us gripping the bar for dear life. People died in hospitals, unable to hold the hand of those they loved. The last face they saw was often the masked face of a health care worker. People could not mourn their dead with friends and loved ones in person.
Despite the dark, there was also light. Forced quarantine helped reduce transmission of the virus but also brought isolation, loneliness and fear. In Italy, people took to their balconies to play music and sing to their neighbors. On Easter Sunday, Andrea Bocelli sang alone in a glorious Cathedral to soothe our souls. On the amateur end of music, my husband and I took up the ukulele and are learning to play the Beatles song, “Let It Be.” People were kind and offered to help others. For example, my younger neighbor brought me veggies from a local farm. She later introduced me to “Imperfect Foods”, which delivers good but misshapen produce. This food would have ended up in the landfill. Selling it saves tons of waste. Then there was the light of a double rainbow. Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna created new vaccines that emerged toward the end of the year and are being distributed worldwide.
There was much loss. Over 1.6 million people have died of COVID19 in 2020. In Los Angeles County, two hours north of where I live, the virus is so widespread that 10,000 people have died, which is about 130 people per day. Beds are full and medical resources are so stretched, that many patients cannot receive adequate care. A variant strain of the virus has also arrived. It traveled from the United Kingdom to Colorado to California.
Despite the loss, there is also hope. I know COVID19 will go on killing as cases are on the rise in many places. I hope the vaccine gets distributed and we win the war. I hope that the new USA administration, led by Joe Biden, a man of compassion and Kamala Harris, a woman of fierce heart, will help heal the political divide in this nation.
I learned a lot in 2020. I used much less time and money on consumerism and polluting. I walked more in nature and raced around less. I paid deeper attention to racial prejudice. I stopped taking for granted that I could pop on a plane three times a year to go see my daughter and her family in the Midwest. I felt the pain of not seeing my grandkids in person. I learned to navigate Zoom, which became the lifeline for business and for visits with friends and family. Zoom religious services grounded me when I started to float and get too lost or too lonely. I hope to take some of these lessons and skills into 2021. And sweep the rest of the debris into the dustpan and throw it in the garbage can.