It’s been a long time since I’ve connected on this platform, although I’ve been able to keep up with others. It seems another lifetime ago since we had that conversation, “What Now? We coined the term back then, “What Nowness”. So much has happened in-between then and now. We’ve returned during this time of the coronavirus, full circle to the question and the same state of uncertainty: the not knowing; the unformed “ness” of it. This time more urgent, more critical and more pressing than ever before. All the fault lines and cracks in bold relief, it’s as if mother nature has sent us to our rooms like naughty children to have a deep think about our bad behavior. In these rooms, we have become child-like again; using our imaginations, resourcefulness, and creativity to meet our needs, needing and using less, loving fully and making use of the gift of time. Dare I say we have had time to think again. This is where I find hope.
First and foremost, I hope all of you and your families are safe and well. One family member contracted the virus but has made a full recovery and the rest of mine are well. I am in my safe home remaining healthy as my beautiful city suffers unspeakable loss yet is manifesting unparalleled heroism from first responders and medical personnel. The kindness and generosity manifested by those in my local community have been a balm, younger neighbors checking in on us. Our favorite small and homey local restaurant making food for us and for those working tirelessly in the large, looming hospital just a few blocks away. Saying thanks to pharmacists and grocery workers putting themselves and their families at risk to serve us. It makes me feel sick inside to think about how I took them for granted before. A fashion designer friend in danger of losing his own business, hopping on his bicycle to deliver masks to child welfare workers who still must go into homes and homeless shelters to make sure families and children are safe simply because I put out a call. As this goes on and we have no idea for how much longer, there is already enough time passed for these behaviors to become habits. We are learning to make do with less, cherish connection to family and friends, reconnect with gardens and nature, cooking, being kind, helping others and using social media for networking, social action and to express our humanness. Underneath it all, there is an incredible potential to change how we live as a community, how we treat the earth and others and how we re-learn an ethic of care. There has never been a more important time to ask the question, “What Now?”
In my time away from all of you before the world was shaken, I was working on a “What Now?” book proposal and it’s done. Whether anything will happen to it given the economic devastation of the current moment is questionable but there is comfort in knowing there are multiple ways it can be shared. Doing something well takes full immersion and concentration and so I was neglectful of you and for that, I apologize. Three weeks ago, I started writing essays on my Instagram. As always, I view essays as places to think things through and invite others to join me in communal reflection. Instagram is not a platform that serves a long-form of writing well. It’s easier to post an emoji than a comment. I find myself back to my beginning, writing a blog. It’s been quite a journey to get back here and as we move through this time of messy “Whatnowness” I will share it.
I’m wearing orange merino wool here, vintage earrings and a watch and scarf that are an investment that can be left to my daughter and to her daughter, meant to last lifetimes. These are some hints as to my ideas about moving forward when it comes to clothing. Kandinsky describes orange as “Red brought closer to humanity by yellow“. So I wear it to stay close to all of you during this time of social distancing. Stay safe and well.
Please let me know how you’re doing, what you are thinking about and any lessons you are learning as a way to re-start our conversation.