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November 26, 2020

Window on the World Column: Glass Half Full

By Lucy Jensen, Soledad Columnist

With the changing of the times and the lessening of the daylight, I must annually go on self-watch alert. There is something about darkness during the daytime that makes me, well, dark. I can get the gloomies very easily when the clocks fall back and, this year, I think it might be easier than most to tumble down the dark hole and lose myself for a few days, where I might find many others from the world.

Except that that is not helpful for the universe, especially when I currently hold the dubious position of cheerleading nurse in the household, encouraging our resident patient to see the glass half full, even when he feels as if his recovery is too slow — one step forwards, two backwards — and is frustrated that he can’t just jump in his truck and go off to work like a regular person.

We are an impatient species, humans. We cannot stand darkness that is imposed upon us — we cannot tolerate lockdowns or being told where we can and cannot go, what face coverings we must wear on our noses and mouths, or any other kind of restriction to our free lives that we resent holding back on. “Bring on 2021! … Good riddance to 2020! … Cannot wait for this awful year to be over! …” Many are wishing away their lives in some unrealistic expectation that Jan. 1 of the New Year will herald the dawn of a new beginning, where big bad Covid is just a crummy memory and we will all start booking flights for our holidays for next year that just has to make up for this one. I don’t see it, I’m afraid.

For now, I’m not booking anything for next year. And by that statement, I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer. Having canceled more holidays and flights that I dare to describe, because I refused to believe that a wretched virus could and would shut down all my 2020 plans, I am staying at home and biding my time. Those of you who know me will know that I don’t say that lightly. I love to travel, live to travel! But no. We must listen to the medical experts; learn patience and wait for the vaccine, listen for the testing improvements and do our best to look on the bright side. Many of us have food in our cupboards and some source of income. We are the lucky ones. Can we help others less fortunate?

We have health insurance, lest we need a major heart operation. Our human families are surviving, and our fur families don’t have a clue — they just love it that we are home more these days. We are the lucky ones. And there are many out there that cannot say that. We must empower ourselves to be the cheerleaders in our circle of influence where we can.

I try to do my part by sharing fabulous photos of my home and beasts and contributing to the cheer that way. People tell me that it helps. I aim to be grateful for my lot by feeding the wild birds, the hummingbirds, all the critters. I leave water out for the wild animals that might pass by in the night and need a place to lap and refresh. It’s my way of encouraging the universe to look on the bright side too.

Fall has her own beauty, she really does. Some of the best sunset skies can be seen in the fall. The leaves are falling in divine cascades of color and the vines are hanging heavy with old fruit that feeds the wild animals and contributes to the economy of the valley. Fall is time for recollection of a year nearly done, for gathering thoughts and gifts. It’s past time to clean out a cupboard and give to the needy. Could you buy an extra turkey for a family this Thanksgiving, or host a needy child with a slice of Christmas cheer?

Sometimes the daily burdens of our existence can weigh heavily — working, caregiving, managing — and we look only inwardly; especially when the afternoons are darkening too quickly and there is a nip in the air that pushes us to put away the summer whites and dig out the thick darks of winter. It’s all part of the cycle that we must accept. Just like the cycle of a virus that crushes local economies and the lives and plans of many, the cycles rotate, and it will not be like this forever; just as winter annually blends into spring and spring to summer.

In the last portion of this difficult year, I am putting myself on a time-out to gather myself and find the gratitude in all I do have and not the other. As we move towards Thanksgiving and, likely, a quiet festive table this year, I hope to find there a peacefulness of quiet acceptance. With the darker days, maybe I can read more books and write more stories. Perhaps that cupboard will finally get cleaned out and I will package up goods for those who need things more than I do.

Hoping that you and yours can find your own slice of peace and acceptance too. Let’s cool the rage and the divisiveness and remember the first Thanksgiving. Let’s share what we have and be mindful of the less fortunate, as good people in good communities do. That can only serve to provide the sort of cheer I think we all need this year. Be sure, I shall be working on mine.

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