I hope this finds you well and healthy. Here in Los Angeles summer has arrived, as only the end of another school year can so loudly proclaim.
As much as I want to believe that everyone is experiencing more freedom, less restriction, and that we are all cautiously emerging from protective isolation, this is not the case. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reported that more people have died from Covid-19 already this year than in all of 2020, with more than 1.88 million Covid-19 deaths in less than six months. The uneven spread of pandemic around the globe meant poorer nations were hit later but just as hard — before they’ve been able to access to the vaccines that have benefited Europe, Canada and the U.S. Vastly different vaccination rates have sharpened the global divide. For example, as of a week ago, only 2% of people in Africa and just over 6% in Asia had received at least one dose of vaccine, compared with 22% in South America, more than 40% in the European Union, and more than 50% in the U.S. This while according to the WHO, Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere has yet to administer a single shot.
That’s some of a much bigger picture, as I write and send my generally happy, lucky personal news your way. My keyboard is shadowed by the penumbra of our collective truths, and the knowledge that not all is as well for my sisters and brothers as it is for me and us.
Shouldering the Burden
Our human bodies are designed to survive. When possible, they keep going, doing their best to accomplish what is asked of them, from morning till night, day after day, week after week. Sure, they require regular re-fueling nourishment, hydration, and rest; but it’s not a lot when you consider all the asks.
On a typical day, I feel like I’m moving at a pace somewhere between marathon and sprint, from the moment I wake up. From sleep’s inertia to my alarm urgently informing me that it is time to make breakfast for the kids and get them to school, to the moment I slow down enough to be enveloped by a dark blanket of sleep, things are moving quickly. I’ve discovered this is the case even when I’m not on the road and even when I don’t leave the house. Somehow things are static in “busy.”
Humans are mostly blissfully ignorant of what it takes for our bodies to stay homeostatic. Unaware…until we become aware. And, as I recently learned, newfound awareness may not be a pleasant experience. Newton’s first law of motion states the principle of inertia: an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by a net external force. In my case, the net external force was a concrete sidewalk meeting my left shoulder as I flew over the handlebars of my bike. In that moment, time slowed down, and I did what I could use my momentum to aim for the friendliest bit of concrete, avoiding those jagged rocks to my left, tucking my head out of the way, and selecting the best of the bad options available…