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MUSINGS ON THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC BY MHC64 CLASSMATES

We recently asked classmates to submit their thoughts or experiences dealing with the pandemic for posting on our Class website We have received three "Musings" so far, which are now posted on our Home Page. We encourage others to add to these initial Musings. Please send your thoughts in this regard to Nancy Goff nancg6464@gmail.com.

From Suzanne Selby Granger

I wrote this on Easter morning, a few weeks into the coronavirus California lockdown:

As I look forward (so to speak :) to the long gray hair that will add ten years to my appearance, I work to feel as blessed as I absolutely am by my white, upper middle class privilege, in the midst of what for many is the nightmare of ten lifetimes. While I need only pick up my phone to call the local volunteer organization for elders—yes, you, Marin Villages—who will bring every last item on my grocery list, I see on TV the orderly mile long lines of cars waiting to pick up whatever the now ubiquitous food banks have to offer. But how, please, are the forty percent of Americans who don't have even $400 on hand in case of emergency going to pay their rent?

And how far behind are their kids falling if they don't have the Internet to keep them “in school” or a parent able to tutor them? How about the woman heading home with that coveted food bank food only to be beaten, again, by the angrier-than-ever man in her life? Where's the lifeline for her and her children? And while I wonder whether the sudden rounds of diarrhea I've been experiencing could be a harbinger of Covid, as I’ve read they might be, I watch a front line nurse, who flew in from the Midwest to New York to help, do what he's there to do—put a tag on the toe of the next person in line for a body bag, if there is one to be found.

Yes, another dear soul, among the countless world-wide who suffocated and died yesterday, bereft of even a single family member or friend to hold her hand. I won't even start on the president. I could go on—about the meat packing plants, the cruise ships and the navy ships, the prisons and the nursing homes, not to mention the homeless, and, especially, the horrifying discrepancy between the Covid death rate of black and brown people and that of whites, and, and….But I bet you get the picture.

Really the only good news here is that, yes, I am beginning to feel a little more blessed on this strangest of Resurrection mornings. Now I'm off to resurrect our gratitude practice and myself with a cup of coffee and cream. Lucky me. May you count your blessings too—because if you're reading this, you probably have some, thank God!

http://suzannegrenager.com/

From Kitty Epston Rabinow

The Class blurb I just received asked if we had any 'Musings on the Pandemic'. Well….. I am now on my 43rd email/blurb missive dealing with all aspects of life/COVID/stress reduction/ musings based on photography etc. The mailing list has expanded to over 100 people and several Assisted Living organizations. People seem to find [at least some] the topics interesting or funny or enlightening. All emails are based on my photographs and over the past few weeks added to with YouTube connections of music that tie in with the topic at hand.

Writing these often takes me many many hours but I can't stop sending out daily pieces because of comments I have gotten that were 'serious ones' from the infirm or terrified readers. For a few people it is the reason that they say they look forward to the morning to see what in the world I would have chosen to write about. Some are lengthy others are short and sweet. I'll attach today's missive for you to see.

hugs and good health,

Here is one example:

Dear Ones,

This afternoon I looked at some photos I have taken of Houston green anoles and began to worry. I see that they have delicate tiny feet and even tinier foot toe pads. Houstonians are told we should be aware we could have a difficult hurricane season here this year.

All I can say to the lizards is: Hang on Sloopy, hang on. https://youtu.be/2NUZzB8_XHM

tight hugs,

Kitty

A few weeks ago I wrote you an email that contained some photos of green lizards [anoles]; Over these past weeks I have written and sent you many photos of birds. And last week I wrote about fungus. So...why have I put as the 'subject' for this email the title: Trendy or trending?

Well... Yesterday I received a notice that I should look forward to the upcoming The New Yorker magazine's long article on fungus. The New York Times has recently printed several articles discussing the popularity of bird watching and identification. And now, today, just as I thought I might create another email about the interesting small animals I see on my walks-specifically the anoles— I read an article about lizards evolving in response to strong hurricanes. Am I prescient or merely in synch with the rest of the bored American populace? Am I ahead of the 'curve of interests' or merely riding the crest? Am I trendy or trending?

Well hang on to your hats [or if you are an anole] hang on to your tree trunk. I think I shall expand about the Lizard Evolution possibilities before a similar article floods your local papers. [Oops I should not have used the word 'floods' because I am going to write about hurricanes....].

Here in Houston we, as do all our friends who live along the Gulf Coast or up the East Coast, dread the four months termed 'Hurricane Season'. If the oceans become warmer than normal [which they seem to do each year], if el nino is doing one thing and la niña is doing something else, then there is a higher probability of serious hurricanes making landfall in some water adjacent landmass. Each hurricane has been given a name and if, in conversation, one says 'Ike', or 'Katrina' immediately people know that you are not speaking of a girl but rather of a devastating storm. I still remember Gloria in 1984—a hurricane that reached South Hadley Massachusetts when I was attending meetings there from my dry and wind-free home in Louisiana and I remember when I was in grade school the hurricane that reached New Jersey in the 1950s and caused cancellation of the public schools for a day or two. And of course there was the horrendous damage done to the New York area by 'Sandy'. But few hurricanes rival the intensity and the frequency of hurricanes that batter the Caribbean Islands and the Gulf Coast.

Some animals have almost become extinct due to the constant flooding and damage to their homes and food source. But others have adapted to the changes. Among those animals are the anoles--comprising many species of the beautiful green lizards that live around the Gulf Coast. Scientists in St. Louis have been studying the anole lizards and a brand new research report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has revealed that there are now an increased number of anoles with larger feet [fatter toe pads] in areas where there had been recent hurricane devastation. The smaller footed lizards couldn't hold on to the trees and shrubs during the very recent extremely high winds of the hurricanes and they were blown to their death. It was those with fatter toe pads that could hold tightly enough to the trees to survive. To prove this hypothesis, researchers used leaf blowers and filmed lizards reacting to hurricane-force winds. They saw that the lizards would continually change their positions around the perch or tree truck to get out of the high winds and that often their back legs would get blown off the perch by the winds. The lizards would grip tightly with just their front feet on the perch. Toe pads provided traction and grip ability; the researchers saw that the larger the toe pad of the anole species [and there are over 200 species in the hurricane prone areas] the more that species flourished. There is a limit to size—the front feet can't get too large because the lizards need to be able to walk around, not just cling to trees in a wind. But the anoles that have a better chance to survive have bigger feet.

I have big feet; the research has made me smile.

From Susan Bass Marcus

Hello classmates,

Below is a series of cartoon sketches. I created #Gerty, a character I doodle nearly every morning after finishing an easy crossword, and these few show her various reactions to the 'plague.'

Best, Susan Bass Marcus

S. B. Marcus, author

www.malevir.com

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