Changing Seasons

It’s now officially autumn — and, in the United States, we’re more than six months and 200,000 deaths into our ongoing experience with Covid. Sadly, it looks like we could be in for a very difficult fall and winter; before we go there, it’s worth a moment to look back on the first six months.

Five noticings and reflections thus far:

  1. Like most slogs, this one is longer and harder than anticipated at the beginning. Like so many people, I thought in March that Covid would be the shock that awakened us to the error of our old ways and finally led to real change — at work, in politics, and in our culture. Obviously, we’re not all the way there yet, and we can’t even agree on where “there” might be.
  2. “Uncertainty” and related words (volatility, complexity, and ambiguity spring to mind) are still treated as epithets in our culture — obstacles to be overcome rather than basic realities of life. Of course, these are the basic realities of so much historical and contemporary human existence, and even this relatively tiny peek beyond the thick curtains of our own culture has unsettled all of us and completely undone all too many of us.
  3. The status quo is a ridiculously powerful force, and change happens incredibly fast. What do you consider “normal?” And how much has that changed since Bush v. Gore, since Facebook, since the iPhone, since 2016, or since March?
  4. As Steve Pressfield points out, Resistance gets stronger as we go through a dip — even though we all wish it were the other way around. This is like swimming, not skiing.
  5. The hard part is that we can’t go back, we can’t stay here, and we can’t really move forward yet, either. It’s tempting to give up hope or resign all agency, but that certainly won’t help. We can make progress even if we cannot move forward.

Stay safe out there.