I don't mind hard work. In fact, I quite enjoy putting effort into something. I may not relish every moment of toil, but it is a certain kind of satisfying to get to the end of a challenging process, step back, and take-in the final result. To see the culmination of all that challenge, struggle, and perseverance; a whole and complete thing, crafted with love and skill and sometimes swearing.
And while I don’t mind effort, I do not enjoy when my efforts feel wasted. Last year, we cut down an invasive tree that was attempting to grow half under our porch and right through our sewer line. It’s a tough species to get rid of, so we followed all the gardeners advice and poisoned it’s base for good measure. This week I noticed a brand new baby shoot rising up from the wizened stump. So I dug the whole thing up.
I shifted a substantially heavy rock and dug a 3 foot crater into the earth. To reach the offending tree’s deepest root, I had to first dig out an entire other rootball of some long-since-dead-I-don’t-even-know-what. I dug and pulled and grunted and pushed and almost broke the shovel. Finally, after 45 minutes and a lot of swearing, the evil root gave way and I wrenched it from the earth.
I unceremoniously dumped my giant root nemesis into the city compost bin and filled in the hole. I took a moment to appreciate that after all that mayhem my yard in no way looks like I extracted two cubic feet of hellborne villainy. Covered in dirt and drenched in sweat, I retreated inside for a shower and a well-earned burrito. Here's hoping that tree won't make a miraculous resurgence next year.
I hold a similar hope for avoiding a resurgence of Covid, especially now that the US is poised to re-open just about everything in the wake of the CDC's most recent guidance. I see the current suffering in India, after they had the virus under control just a couple months ago, and I can't help but wonder if we're jumping the gun on public unmasked interaction. It’s been a year of isolation and separation and longing. I don’t want that suffering to have been in vein.
I also don't care about having to wear a mask. I care about doing things and seeing people in-person. I care about getting to leave my house for activities in other locations with humans I both do and do not live with. I care about traveling to visit people I love and exploring interesting places. I will survive wearing a mask in public, even if I have to do it for the rest of my life. I will not survive without in-person interaction with other humans.
I understand the fully-vaxxed portion of the population doesn't want to wait forever to resume regular life. I understand vaxxed folks don't want their social life held hostage by people who don’t want to get their Covid jab. And I don’t want to rush into ruining all the work we’ve done so far. So once you’re vaxxed, go back to work, go back to school, go back to the grocery store. But why not go back in a mask? At least for a little longer.
There is also something extra to wearing a mask in public spaces. It’s more than just protection from the breath of other humans. It’s a physical way to say “I care about all of you out there and I’m considering your health and well-being as I move through the world.” Last summer when tens of thousands of people came out to protest police brutality and racial injustice, everyone wore masks. It felt like a safe place to be both ideologically and physically, which was a welcome respite in those early pandemic days.
We already know that how we conduct ourselves in the world affects the people around us. It’s important to consider all those people when I decide how to act. It feels good to care about my fellow humans. And I want them to know I care. Not because I say so, but because of what I do and how I do it. The pandemic rages-on and the majority of people remain unvaxxed, so I’ll keep my mask on for now. I want this to work. I don’t want to re-do Covid. Once is enough.
Information and Inspiration
Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.