Paradise Apocalypse

Chaos swirls like an invisible current around us. Weather no longer sits on the throne of the small-talk kingdom. Coronavirus passes between ears with far more frequency. Forget last night’s bout of thunder, did you hear how many people died in New York? Nervous speculation replaces the default cheeriness of midwestern life. 

No end in sight.

Earth continues its orbit, draws nearer to the sun. A dead world begins to reawaken. Forget the preoccupations of mankind, this planet is too big to feign concern. 

Earth’s ignorance is a secret gift.

I left my quarantine on a Sunday afternoon. For the first time in seven days, a clear blue sky and fair weather welcomed my exit into the outdoors. 

The day fell within the transitionary period of March and April. Spring showers broke to reveal grass green with revival and budding trees. Birds sang their songs in large numbers. A lack of human commerce meant these songs were the sole sound to accompany the afternoon.

I took a breath in to taste the fresh air. A breeze sent goosebumps down my arms but the sun made moot the chill that came with it. Warmth bristled on my skin. Light made my skin glow. I missed such gratifying sensations and felt comforted by their return. For the first time since this all began, the bliss I knew beforehand found me.

People wandered in their small groups through the neighborhood. Some shepherded children of varying ages. Others toted dogs of every imaginable size. The weather compelled us all to leave the despair we knew behind closed doors. Compelled us all to ignore the miseries of the times and bathe in the goodness of a sunny day.

The minutiae of old life regained its luster after COVID-19 settled in. Forced to a turtle’s pace, life’s evening rains and spring afternoons became magical again. People rediscovered themselves outside of frantic routines. A game of catch, a family bike ride, activities once forgotten regained significance. Laughter never sounded sweeter. 

For a period with strong hints of apocalypse, I am forced to reflect on the ease of life and its many pleasures. Spring offers a comfort. A sunny kiss on the cheek and a vigor to fight on. We are the lucky ones. To despair is to forget this. Never should we forget the good. For now it is all we have. 

We are the lucky ones. We cannot afford to forget this.

A war rages behind hospital doors. Medical workers put their lives at risk to defend mankind against an invisible enemy. The depths of their suffering are depths I will never know. I catch glimpses of it in articles published by The New York Times. Words on a page trigger tears over the horrors. Mere words. 

I am not alone in feeling these sentiments. In these ever-evolving times, Google reports searches over “how can I help?” are surging. Mankind is not limited to hospital floors, after all. We all have roles to play. The weather warms souls, instills a desire to join the fight. The question becomes this: we–the lucky ones–what can we do? 

In this paradise apocalypse, what can we do?

I’ll tell you what I think. I think the best thing we can do is to find our happiness again. Find it and spread it around. To stay strong in the face of a crisis, we must remain positive that we can and will defeat it. Stay informed.

Stay inside. 

Enjoy the sun on your skin. We are fortunate to be able to do so from the comfort of our own homes.

This will end. Mankind will be stronger for it. Chins up.

Bisous.

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