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Thurs. Spr. 15, 2021
In January 1993, Joan and I took our winter holiday in Montserrat, one of the less-visited islands of the Caribbean. It was so less-visited, it only had three hotels.
Four years later, the island’s volcano blew up. It buried the capital city in ash. To the rooftops.
Then in January 2008, we went to St. Vincent, at the other end of the Caribbean chain of islands. Five of us hiked up to the rim of St. Vincent’s volcano, past ferns growing 30-feet tall.
We peered down into swirling mists in the crater. I’d love to have gone down, but the rock walls were too sheer for anything but trained climbers with ropes and pitons.
Last week, the volcano on St. Vincent blew up.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: volcano, coincidence, St.Vincent, Caribbean
Sunday April 11, 2021
Many years ago, when our son was still alive but not yet a teenager, our family watched a made-for-TV movie called “The Boy in a Plastic Bubble.”
It had little to commend it. Even the story line was a bit hokey – a boy born with no immunity to anything. To have any kind of normal life, he lived inside a large plastic bubble that isolated him from everyone.
It seemed to me, at the time, that it also reflected the life that our son had to lead. Because he had CF, cystic fibrosis, he had to be protected from anything that might lead to a potentially fatal lung infection.
When the movie ended, our son yawned, stretched, and said, “Okay. I’m going to bed.”
On a sudden impulse, I asked, “Do you ever feel like that boy in the bubble?”
He was frozen for an instant. Then he burst into tears.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: bubbles, CF, isolation, trauma
Thursday April 8, 2021
The church congregation I belong to has held an Easter Sunrise service for at least 40 years. The last two years, however, Covid-19 has thrown a virus into the works. Health restrictions prohibit any gathering of people. And any singing.
This year, for some reason that I cannot fully define, I felt that I needed a sunrise service.
If we couldn’t have one collectively, I decided, I would have one individually.
Which is why I found myself, half an hour before dawn on Easter Sunday, climbing a steep trail up Spion Kop, a local peak.
Tags: Easter, sunrise
I got my Covid-19 vaccination a couple of weeks ago. I’m glad that my age puts me near the head of the line.
But then Jack Knox, a Victoria columnist, asked who should be at the end of the line?
Because somebody has to be last. Don’t they?
Most of us would agree about those who should get preference.
But who’s not on the list?
The question implies a deserving factor. Which is rooted, I would argue, in a belief that the universe is supposed to be fair. Those who are good get rewarded; those who aren’t, get punished.
Tags: COVID-19, vaccination, fairness
Sunday April 4, 2021
What does it feel like, to live in fear? Not the short-term fear, that an oncoming car won’t stop in time. The long-term, constant fear that you, through no fault of your own, are a target for violence. Just because of who you are.
It happened to a 65-year-old woman in New York last week. An unknown man knocked her down, kicked her in the stomach, stomped on her face, then casually strolled away.
The woman was Asian.
Most of us who are white males, like me, have no idea what it is like to spend your life knowing that you’re at risk. To feel unsafe walking to the bus at night, after work. To feel people staring at you on the street or in the classroom. To hear jokes that imply you’re genetically stupid (or, conversely, genetically smarter), or a sexual object, or inherently untrustworthy.
Tags: Prejudice, Asian, Derek Chauvin, trial