By Jan Dynes
Despite all the ugly alternative news and craziness that were a megaphone for how loud the obnoxious can be there are many who have simply perservered through the pandemic. We need to realize that those who were quiet and not screaming from the rooftops through every social media forum were in fact the majority; the good people, with no time for Tweeting or Facebooking, were taking care of their families, wearing masks because they cared about others, home-schooling while working from home or in the field. The everyday heroes who kept their heads down, did their best to carry on and adapted and just did whatever had to be done. No megaphones, no outrage, they mostly stayed positive and put life and their children first, showing absolute perseverance and patience.
There have always been plagues, wars, starving and homeless. There will always be the bigoted and angry, the cult followers who parrot and don’t think or check sources. They are scared and often uneducated and they are loud, but still a minority. So don’t let them influence you, make them impotent by ignoring them.
Our population is more dense and with so many more bogus news centers, social media vomits their own anger and conspiracies back all over them. We need not listen, it is simply the WWW regurgitating any clickbait they looked at. The nuts get even more nutty stuff, the optimists receive all the positive speakers and sweet stories, the angry or bigoted drink more poison in their Koolaid and the hate goes on. Deaf ears will make a hem futile. Never argue with a fool.
Recognize this targeting internet feeds support for whatever you show an interest in. Beware of whence you click! For it will be amplified and constantly spewed all over you. Who you voted for, meant you were spoon fed hate for the opposite side. Pro guns or no guns, the internet knew what to feed you. It fed your very thoughts back with sugar coating or hyperbole or what ever it took to wind you up.
Or did it? There were all those people taking care of their families, cooking, baking, going to work on computers from home on Zoom or at companies with lots of glass partitions, or making vaccines to save lives; they were working in public health hospitals and still putting out fires and driving ambulances. Our grocery stores were still stocked and checkout people smiled at us with their eyes while wearing masks and shields, then went home and fed their families, did laundry, tucked kids into bed and read bedtime stories. Only the consumers of the brainwashing paid the ultimate price of thinking freely. They were loud, ignorant to their trance like hypnosis and some still are.
BUT, Remember those everyday heroes made up 75% of the adult voting population. You only heard from 25% that were the loudest, who were amplified by another very real virus, social media and biased reporting, outright lying and hate-mongers.
BUT, the loudest and angriest with the wildest conspiracies are not the majority. They may well be deplorable and despicable, but they may also just be unthinking cult like followers incapable of critical thinking stuck in cult doctrine. There are those who can’t think for themselves and there are racists and bigots inbred and stupid.
BUT they ARE a minority. Most of us made the best of things and even found gratitude in each breath we and our families took, in the face of the world challenges.
I learned patience, discernment and was overwhelmed every day in gratitude. I learned alone is not lonely and that FaceTime and Zoom could keep even far away loved ones close. When you visit twice a year, you enjoy it. BUT, when you can’t and you talk hours and hours every week instead, you actually are more in each other’s lives.
I am passionately and embarrassingly in love with my dog, Coal, who delights me just by his mere existence, he is my touchstone I can pet, while all the family visits are incredibly rich and full face to face through our phones too. The wonderful flip side of technology.
Here is a bit more mind meandering, I am going to take a turn and reflect on my personal Covid year journey.
I am a softy and I cry during old movies, but try never to in real life. I used that, I watched things that took me back to who I was with when I first saw them, and like WD40 they made time-travel a sentimental journey that glided easily, a substitution for actual travel. It made me reflect on things I had taken for granted. I watched Anne Frank again, cried and remembered I was alive and shouldn’t whine things could be worse.
I love believing all people are basically good and kind. And even through I follow the news, being a cock-eyed optimist suits me best, if that means I am unrealistic, it doesn’t matter to me. I, just like Anne Frank hang on to that and have always journaled.
I relish sudden rain storms and thunder with lightning bolts and the adreniline rush of crashing waves on the transom and over the bow of a sailboat, suddenly making me vulnerable to nature’s majesty. I tapped into those memories and deeply explored all I had learned. This was a year of serious reflection and it was about interior growth.
I respect all people everywhere and want to know all about them, so as travel had ceased, I took advantage of cultures on National Geographic Channels and Wild Kingdom shows. I visited museums, National Parks, the ballet and great operas. All made free for us in this crazy time. So their were pearls to be found even in our isolation.
I am so glad we are all unique in our thoughts and appearance. Oh how boring to only see one philosophy or color in anything. My mind is always hungry and my heart perpetually open to new and different. Maybe I couldn’t put my foot on other continents, at times I mourned that, but mostly I was grateful for all that I could do from home and the few trips I could take after a Covid test coming and going. The Galapagos cruise was more wonderful with only one yacht operating. There were blessings to count this year.
I am curious about how everything works and how we can all be part of a better whole world and all humanity. I love the earth, sky and trees and all the teaming life in our eco-system and respect the caretakers everywhere who devote themselves to it’s survival. They have been busy during this healing time for the planet.
I love the children I birthed in wonder and all the others I have only loved after they had been on the earth for a while. I am supremely for the myriad reasons and ways they became part of our family, from all over the world, I am grateful for all those who become like family through powerful friendships.
I love all the strangers I’ve met in passing around the world and their subtle imprints on my life, long after they have gone, even when we may never see each other again. I rejoice in how many that are still in touch.
I love seeing artists creations locally too. in Cuenca glorious life goes on even as we wear our masks.
I rejoice in the sounds of waterfalls and white-water rivers rushing over boulders and the crash of ocean waves on pink and gold and even green and white sand beaches. I can walk to some and remember others. For all our experiences are forever ours.
I look up above and want to know all the stories of gulls and eagles and owls as well as the sparrows. Oh yes, and the angels and fairies too that live in our imaginations.
I have a deep wonder in regard to nature. What does a bear dream in hibernation or a whale think deep in the ocean? And as ants and bees labor do they make wishes?
I love the smell of Rosemary and Heather growing wild. Along with all the other flowers and herbs that make it so worth myriad handfuls of dirt through my fingers.
I enjoy the sound of birds chirping ahead of the dawn and nightingales hearlding my bedtime, on my mountain paradise perch looking over the city and beyond to the Cajas and Andes and then waking up above the clouds that entice me to leap onto them like a gynormous trampoline.
I crave utilizing the contrasts of fushia and cobalt, and orchid, and silver when painting or weaving a sunlit sky and see how it reflects in the grass below.
I think new shoes that don’t hurt my feet are a marvel. Simple things are so satisfying, a perfect mango, a wheelbarrow full of cherries and the beautifully dressed velvet and embroidered ladies selling from them. The masks do not take away from their beauty, they just enhance the lovely crinkles around their eyes. Because things are pretty much back to normal here, with the additions of our masks which have become personality statements.
Kitchens make me happy as a place to tend loved ones souls along with their stomachs, cooking and baking to serve loved ones and friends is rapturous and fulfilling, I love slicing up vegetables in a rainbow of colors that I grew myself and concocting them into new and innovating favors that burst on my tastebuds. I still have small dinners with good friends who I know follow protocols to stay uninflected.
Grilling’s popping sounds and baking’s aroumas fill our senses not just our stomaches. The kitchen is where love is served up and the center of most families. But during this pandemic, I grew enough to realize that even if I was a party of one, I deserved treats too. Self esteem and respect grew in this time of so much introspection.
I worshipped the mystery of the deep black of night under a cloud cover and also the clarity of returning stars when the clouds disapated. Every full moon brings magic.
I love people who can look me in the eye and show their hearts unabashedly over their masks. It took on a whole new depth that eyes were the windows to the soul!
I treasure horses and dogs and spiders and everything in between. I marvel at how trees grow out of cracks in concrete and how that proves that all things are possible. Solitary walks on the mountain are treasured.
Reading was lovely with the time to enjoy from my full or chair hammock. I revered the solemn shadows and grizzled trees in the woods of fairytales origins and the authors that they inspired. Making believe charges all our imaginations.
I find glory in the sky and clouds shifting and painting cloud pictures to make my imagination soar high. I feel gratitude by loving nature and diversity as they all compliment one another.
I believe that all dreams come true, often creatively, you just have to observe that they may morph into something differently then what you first imagined. I do not need any particular outcome to be happy for no reason, and revel in being hopelessly positive. Joy is a decision and if we make it, we have it.
I like creating art, even if it doesn’t come out as planned too, it is excellent to live in the process and not just for the out come.
I also love all of you who wade through my aimless mind meanerings as you nourish my delight and spur my run on ramblings that keep my brain teased and make the corners of my mouth turn up in wonder that you are all in my life. Thank you.
It isn’t always easy to see it clearly, 2020 and still into 2021 is challenging us. But use that and just keep breathing. This is a lesson in priorities and what is truly important. BUT, we’ve got this mindfully and on day at a time. Meanwhile the planet has been healing, and actually so are we.
Love and Light to all.
Jan Dynes, the author of Refraction, Dottie’s Gift, Jamal’s Story, The River and Hear Our Voices moved to Cuenca three-and-a-half years ago and fell in love with the city and its people. She lives on a finca on a mountaintop 25 minutes out of Cuenca at 10,400 ft. She found her paradise!