Sometimes, when I can't get to sleep, I tell myself to count things in my mind's eye. Like the trees in my yard, twenty of them. Then I might try to remember their names: two fern pines, silver maple, juniper, apple, blood orange, fig, Meyer lemon, lemon, other lemon (sorry you two lemons, can't remember your real names), navel orange, grapefruit, two albezia, pomegranate, magnolia, two tulip magnolias, crepe myrtle, bottle brush. And then, if I still can't sleep I could think about the roses. But I'd have to get up to count them, so I could estimate there are about twenty of those too. I could try to see each one in my mind's eye, but at this point, hopefully, I might be drifting off.
Or, at least that's what I think might be a good way to turn my brain away from pandemics, floods, world hunger, poverty, and all the disasters we are faced with right now. My emergency lights and sirens will run non-stop if I don't take control, try to settle, try to find a calm spot to rest my mind and my soul.
It isn't just that we have so many challenges right now. People are resilient, people are generally kind and helpful to one another. But the political climate in the face of these world disasters -- these crises -- does nothing to help us find sense, or sensibility. In fact the ones who could provide some sense of order, rational scaffolding to get us through and beyond this terrifying time, do nothing but further confuse and confound our natural instincts to make order out of chaos, to organize what we can in the space we occupy, to "keep calm and carry on."
Those of us who are older, who are retired, can do the shuttering-in required without too much concern. We know that eventually things will evolve, or devolve, into some kind of end of this crisis. But younger people are seeing their incomes disappear, seeing their hopes and dreams slowly drift farther and farther away. The frustration and struggle they must endure breaks my heart. Yes, they will survive. But these times seem especially hard for them. Not only do they have to figure out how to pay the bills and put food on the table for their families, but they have to keep a steady hand on the rudder of their family ship through this storm to keep their children safe, and to reassure them that this time is temporary.
Our daughter's preschool had to close. She had finally realized the dream of moving it outside of their home and into a perfect little cottage where she could build the program to accommodate twenty four children. She was well on her way to achieving that goal. And then, abruptly, the pandemic forced her to close her doors. While she still provides support through internet sessions with children and parents, it's not what they need. They need to be able to come back to their teachers and friends, to be in community to play, develop relationships, and learn about their world. Our fervent hope is that there will be a way to hold on until it is safe to return to building that dream. In the meantime, they need help to develop ways to talk about how they are feeling when they can't see friends, or can't go to school. So she has written a lovely little book to help children deal with the stress and challenge of having to stay at home.
Many have found it helpful. Adults as well as children. If you would like to find a copy for your family or someone who you know would benefit from this beautiful book, you can find a copy at Amazon. I'll leave the link here. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1733740236
Finding comfort where one can in today's world seems to me to be of the utmost importance. We must all take that seriously in order to survive and to thrive. Count your blessings, your trees, your roses, your children, your friends. We will prevail, I am sure of it.