Today Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the statewide order requiring people to wear masks or other coverings in public spaces, including while taking public transportation, seeking medical care, shopping and in most public settings. "Our numbers are going up, not going down. Hospitalization numbers are just starting to creep back up, and I'm very concerned by what we're seeing," Newsom said.
This announcement reminded me of Craig Walker's reflections on masks when the virus quarantine began. I invite you to read Craig's reflections he calls, Hoping for Peace Amidst Gloom:
Weeks ago, when the news was broadcast that we should not wear face masks, I realized how wrong that advice was. But I also knew that it was necessary in order to avoid putting an even a greater drain on the national supply of masks. After of a lifetime as a volunteer firefighter, the importance of wearing a face mask was pressed into me. When I started as a full-time firefighter with the Los Angeles County Fire Department in 1958, the breathing apparatus had not yet been invented so we would enter into a burning building with wet red bandanas tied across our faces. The Mayor of Los Angeles may soon issue an edict requiring anyone who leaves home to wear a face covering of some kind, hopefully not an N95 mask. These need to be saved for medical responders. The Mayor’s theory is that anything is better than nothing. Looking back on my days with L.A. County Fire, I realize that that was also the same philosophy. It wasn’t ideal but it was all that we had and we made it work.
Last night on local television they showed people modeling some homemade masks. Honestly, bank robbers must be simply delighted. Imagine if the police responded to a robbery call at a bank and arrived to find everyone wearing a mask!
We are adapting to this gloom. I live with my bride of 55 years in isolation. Luckily, it has been in isolation for only the last two weeks. Our groceries are delivered to us and I go through the drive-in bank. I do isometric resistance exercises and sit-ups every day and ride my trike for the aerobic part. In between, I work at the computer, writing things, and I take as many naps as possible. We live in relative peace, although our relatives are located far from us.
I grew up in a family where relative strife reigned between distant relatives. As an adult, I just let the separation, caused by hurts long ago, continue. Only fairly recently have I reached out to distant cousins in an attempt to breach the walls of time. I am pleased with the success it has brought. I am coming to know some of the children of one cousin and it has been a great experience for me. Life is just a little richer when relatives can come together and celebrate each other’s lives.
Our current isolation is an excellent time to reach out to family. Isolation is a looking glass that has a way of helping us focus on those things that are really important in life. Talking with each other and being together in spirit are two of those important things. Isolation helps us to slow our lives down temporarily and take inventory of where we are. Do you like what you see in the mirror?
Listening to Opera Radio this morning, I heard a piece by Henry Purcell. He was born in London in 1659. In 1695, he wrote the song called “Lead Me to Some Peaceful Gloom.” In German, this would be called a Widerspruch, literally, “something which speaks against itself.” In English we call it a dichotomy. Peace and gloom appear to be a contradiction. We are living in a time of contradiction. Isolation, while separating, has brought many people together. I immediately realized that this 325-year-old music with its lilting melody and profound musicality, applies perfectly to soothing the soul in today’s world. Find it. Listen to it. Let it touch your heart and truly help you find peace amidst the gloom.