The same wind that blows down your house shakes berries from the bushes

~ Marci Ridlon

Have you ever made a ‘silk purse out of a sow’s ear’? Are you finding any kind of silver lining in this cloud of corona? What have you discovered during the lockdown that’s worth keeping when we finally get to ‘the after time’?

The farther we go into this global collective pandemic journey, the more distant ‘the before time’ looks in the rearview mirror. Just how things are going to be different in ‘the after’ is anybody guess.

Bugs like this are stubborn. They don’t conform to our usual modern mode of the cable news cycle. Think about it, for the most part, disasters are localized. We’ll have a hurricane here, an earthquake there, maybe a volcano will erupt somewhere else.

Aside from climate change, most man-made dramas are equally ephemeral. Hopefully science will trump politics in the future when it comes to existential issues. While wars and famine, unfortunately, last for decades, they are usually happening ‘somewhere else’ and only bubble up to the surface of our shared mainstream media pool when they’re breaking out or reaching a turning point of some sort or another. It’s sad but true that there’s always another crisis to shine the spotlight on.

It’s no wonder that a lot of folks are getting bored with the lockdown and the seemingly endless stream of Covid-19 news and are ready to change the channel and move on. Except coronavirus could care less about our 48-hour attention span. Anything that’s in the news for more than two or three weeks starts to have the appeal of day-old gas station sushi in the eyes of Jane and Joe Public, so this pandemic is breaking all the rules.

Like it or not, if there’s one thing we’re going to learn out of all of this, it’s patience. The idea that we can just bully our way through it and force it out of the way because of ‘muh freedoms!’ is a recipe for disaster. We’re like novices dancing with a master; until we take the time to learn the steps our feet will keep tripping us up.

If you’ve been reading Monday Love for long, you’ll notice that I always lead off with a set of questions. Today I’d like to take the inquiry a bit deeper and really ask you to think about what new nuggets of novelty or pearls of wisdom you might find during this downtime that are going to be worth bringing forward and keeping alive in the future?

This comes to mind because here in the Bay Area we’re seeing some shifts due to coronavirus that I’m guessing people will want to keep once it’s over. It could be that this crisis is waking us up to some ideas that are long overdue and worth keeping.

Folks around here seem to be adapting to the concept of ‘social distancing’ pretty well, (although ‘physical distancing’ is a more accurate term). We’ve got our masks and gloves and when we’re out and about we’re giving each other plenty of space. There’s still a fair amount of activity judging by the number of cars on the road and while the lockdown was just extended another month some cautious easing is allowing places like plant nurseries to open and some typically distant types of work like construction and landscaping to happen.

It’s springtime and the sun is out and the flowers are blooming and folks are itching to get outside and walk around. Isabelle and I are especially blessed to live next to 8,000 acres of open hills where we can walk daily. Oakland’s Mayor Libby Schaaf had a brilliant idea to identify 72 miles (!) of lightly used city streets that could be easily closed to automobile traffic and convert them to bicycle- and pedestrian-only in a ‘Slow Streets‘ initiative.

Shortly after, San Francisco’s mayor London Breed followed suit opening up side streets across the city for walking and biking only. It stands to reason that if more people want to be out-and-about, but we need more space in-between, then we need to rethink the priorities in urban areas to allow for that.

This shift to pedestrian priorities seems to be spreading around the world, in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, restaurants have been given free rein to car-free boulevards in order serve meals al fresco with tables spread far apart.

Having lived for many years in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district I can imagine that once Page Street is reclaimed by pedestrians, it would seem ridiculous to turn it back over to cars. If cities become more people-friendly as a result of the lockdown, I’d say that’s a change we should keep.

If there’s one thing that sets we humans apart, it’s our ability to adapt. We’ve danced around disasters and dilemmas since time began and we’re not about to stop anytime soon. When a situation forces us into a new way of living, we discover things that we might not have otherwise that are worth bringing forward.

Have a look around your own life and your community at large. There may be some ways you can contribute or encourage new ways of being to take root in ‘the after’. Patience and acceptance are simply the first steps. Innovation and adaptation will reveal their gifts by-and-by. Ideas are like seeds in a springtime garden, give the promising ones plenty of light and water and with time they will bear fruit.


Mark Metz
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine