We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.


Written By: Charles - Mar• 19•20

Spring and the Leap Year Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Snow pellets hitting me as I walked out for the newspaper. Blue gray sky as the sun rises behind clouds. Corned beef and cabbage. The equinox, today. Brother Mark, learning new skills. Seoah taking Murdoch for a walk. Kate, a strong woman as friend Debra said. Our world, changing.

First. Welcome Spring! Welcome. We have never needed your message of renewal, growth, emergence more. Even after fallow times, even after the cold and the dark of winter, even after the longest night, you come. You come in the midst of what will be a long darkness, perhaps a long fallow time. You mean, you are, the direct, the tactile hand of mother nature reaching out to each one of us sheltered at home. You will bring us flowers and green leaves and birds singing and fields being planted. Thank you.

More crucial. You will demonstrate for the us the cycle of life. Again. Still. Always. We are uncertain. We don’t know what this afternoon will bring. Tomorrow? Even murkier. But we do know that light follows the dark. That even the longest of winters give way to the gentle spring. So it will be with this virus.

Renewal can take many forms, however, and what the renewal after the coronavirus will look like may surprise us all. Here are two articles that I found useful. Our New Historical Divide B.C. and A.C. by Thomas Friedman in the NYT, and, We’re Not Going Back to Normal by Gordon Lichfield of MIT’s Technology Review.

Friedman, of the St. Louis Park Friedmans, places some hope in advanced biotechnology, but admits it’s not yet ready for a rapid enough response to make a big difference. He quotes a friend, University of Maryland professor, Michele Gelfand on the difference between tight and loose cultures. Tight cultures, with many rules and punishments already in place, think Singapore, Austria, Korea, China, can lock in a broad response quickly and expect that it will be heeded. (She does not mention the bureaucratic paralysis of China.) No parties in the Asian equivalent of Bourbon Street. Loose cultures like the U.S., Italy, Brazil have a tougher time putting responses together and a tougher time enforcing them. She and Friedman believe our political culture may have to change.

Lichfield is clearer on the dilemma. Even though mitigation can help, it’s severe restrictions on movement that will do the most. There are problems. Severe measures are hard to enforce and get harder over time. ICU admissions, a rough metric, can give us a sense of the effectiveness of mitigation or restriction. As admissions trend downward, some loosening of the restrictions can happen. But. New cases will emerge and the spike in hospital admissions will start up again. Until it starts to go down again thanks to reimposed restrictions. According to the study he cites from London’s Imperial College response team, this will happen again and again in waves for 18 months!

It is both the length of time to resolve this, as much as 18 months, and the economic shocks inevitable over that time (and already red light flashing visible now) that will forge a new way of being together. Will you choose to help guide that new world order or resist it?

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