It’s Beltane, herald of summer, season of the fire. I must admit, it’s been a bit dark here at chez ruemara. Covid-19 has added more instability to a life that was already akin to riding a unicycle while juggling flaming batons & balancing a bunch of pitchers on my head. I knew a shelter in place order was going to happen, I was just 2 days off in my estimate of when CA would say “stay the hell home”.
I worried quite a bit about Covid, considering the bulk of my known family is in NYC or Florida, better known as Hot Spot 1 and Future Hotter Spot 1, but the first call from my mother still hit me quite hard. Less about the deaths themselves – 3 3rd cousins & a family friend’s sister – and more about the enormity of the devastation we the marginalized were about to go through. It’s hitting African Americans, Latinos & Native Americans the hardest. Because structural racism is all about making life something you survive not thrive in, so you’re far more vulnerable. Had to take a day just to process this point in history we’re getting to exist in. How does one remain calm in the face of genocide (Puerto Rico still doesn’t have power, over 900 days without infrastructure), because you have to deal with brand new even worse genocide kicking into gear? And while the people that died didn’t mean that much to me, they meant a lot to their people. I felt the tragedy of that absence.
Less than a week later, Alain died and that took my breath away. Alain was a lovely human being, filled with generosity. I don’t bring up much here of some of my interactions, but he reached out to offer help to get me setup doing voice work. That’s his nature. Finding out he’d passed… it made me feel like yet another bright light has gone from the world. Then a few days after Alain, I got word my beloved son kitty, Otajamakushi Taifun, wasn’t just having urinary tract issues, he had kidney disease and this could be his last year. Unfortunately, it turned out to be his last week. Another light gone.
And I’m not remotely alone in this. Way too many people are losing their bright lights. People who made their lives better, who made other lives better. Grief is as national a pastime these days as boredom. What is there to do? Wrap ourselves in darkness, fear & anger? The truth is, we’re all bright lights in someone’s life, whether we know it or not. And we share in the work of pushing back darkness. Over 60k people have died as I write this, yet when I’d started thinking about writing this, only 40k were dead. That number is only going to get bigger. Some of the deaths will be in their normal due time, some will be unfortunate happenstance and some will be due to the criminal mismanagement and callousness of our mostly GOP government. What is there to do, when deaths large & small affect our world, except be a light?
We’re going to need each other, probably more than we think. To let the noise and distractions of others fall away and take the work of preserving this country and what’s truly good in humanity. And to take all the time we need to feel joy. Welcome, Beltane. Welcome. We plan to shine brightly for those we’ve lost.