After ten days of quarantine, I talk to my houseplants, one by one. Soon, I give them names and imagined attributes. Their personalities surface. It is clear they like the attention and don’t mind when I sing to them.

As the days warm, I move outside, gardening with intention, creating new beds and replanting old ones. I discover gardening centers are open and frequent them in full disguise: old gardening clothes, sunglasses, hat and mask. Digging, raking, mulching and watering leaves me dirty, sweaty and beset with new aches and pains. But, too tired and happy to worry about Covid 19.

Now as summer reaches its apex, I have new fears to overcome. My country is on fire, literally and figuratively, and my belly feels like it’s full of hot coals every time I watch the news. Blooms of spring wilt. I simply cannot wrap my mind around the cruelty and patent disregard for the very existence of other people, let alone their rights. Yet their rights are my rights, and the indignity of losing them insults me down to my muddy shoes. It is a confusion of power.

History tells us when the powerless unite and rise up en masse, they prevail. How about a little respect? The mighty wielding implements of control shall someday be weak. Their days might be coming soon at least for this time in this early century. Still the suffering and injustice rages on or reappears in another guise. Perhaps, as some say, this is the way of humanity but that doesn’t make it acceptable.

The overall view calls for cultivating better relationships and limiting the spread of an invasive species. Some things are simpler to say than to do. Confronted with reality, we seek refuge but there is no escape from the real work that needs to be done.

What to do? I write letters, make modest donations, stay informed and aware, speak truth as I know it when I can and pray–because I do believe in a Higher Power.

Returning to my garden, I plant Blue Coneflower (Centaurea cyanus) for hope and tend the Peace Lily (Spathaphylum) summering outside in the shade. This fall I will plant Daffodil bulbs for New Beginnings to bloom in the spring.

Corona Silver Linings Anthology, LifeWrite Project, Opyrus, December 2020

© Candace Armstrong

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