On Friday, October 21, 2022, the first members of the Covid Writing Recovery Project gathered to write and play, focusing our imaginations on creating a communal vision of a vital, fruitful, future. Someone has to believe it's possible to live robustly in this troubled and uncertain world. By being together, we were saying: Why not us?
COVID CONUDRUMS and their ANTIDOTES: To begin, we named what writing with the Project might help us to overcome - alienation, inertia, angst, the dirge of self-doubt. One woman mourns the odd freedom the pandemic gave her to be at home, reading and walking and visiting with her family as much as she wanted, in ways her work life never allowed her before. Next, we wrote down the ANTIDOTES to our various conundrums, saying aloud into the circle: "We are hoping for a healthy harvest, so I will plant" - ENTHUSIASM, SETTLING, MINDFULNESS, PLAY, RESILIENCE, STRENGTH, PRACTICING MUSIC DURING THE DAY, PRIORITIZING DELIGHT (even though I'm back at work).
POEM IN THE ROUND: While our sprouting community discussed the meaning of RESILIENCE, a paper was passed around with the first two lines of a poem written on it. Before being passed to the next writer, the page was folded down over the first of the lines so only one could be seen. The writer receiving would pen their own line, folding the paper down again over the line above theirs, passing the poem on to the next writer, and so on. Here is our poem offered to the Covid Writing Recovery Project community at large:
History cast its shadow over all the world
Together we felt alone, but now the sun
Reminds us that we share the same dawn
And together we can start again
Looking at the stars every night
Brilliant points of burning light
Illumine the way through darkest night
Cherishing the crazed song of the owl
That greets me even through the closed windows
When our eyes meet through
Shimmers of reflected light, I remember
And I don't try to rearrange it
But take my place as history's willing witness
TOAST TO HEALTH: To conclude our evening, we toasted the participants of the Covid Writing Recovery Project, raising a glass in the ancient tradition of extending good wishes to the health of the particular people named, known, celebrated!
A blessing needs only well-wishing to be complete ("Live Long and Prosper" is just such a blessing from Jewish liturgy, though which liturgy none of the four Jewish participants in our gathering could say). A toast affirms identity and hopes to augment it. Therefore, in the spirit of our HOPE FOR A HEALTHY HARVEST, the Till the Ground Toasters (do they come with butter and jam?) offer YOU, our online community, the following:
To the Covid Writing Recovery Project -
May we discover together that we are a great, renewable resource
for the good of our community!
To the cats, dogs, chickens and horses -
for easing our Covid distances!
To the bad Jews -
It's hard to be a good one!
Here's a toast to the ones out on a limb
and to those bravely stepping into the space in between.
May your grip on the Before be light
so that your reach into the Beyond may stretch ever onward!
Take a moment to name your own Covid Conundrums and consider possible ANTIDOTES.
If more courage, humor, willingness comes into your life, how will it change you?
What about your behavior, motivations, relationships, or circumstances will be different?
Be specific as specific as you can be.
Create a toast for your family, your friends, or this community.
Share it with them. Here, here!