"Wishing all of you good health, godspeed and lots of glorious moments during this fresh spring season of growth."
Apr 15, 2020 at 12:00 PM
I have been in awe of the manifestations of love that have been expressed throughout the world since the last time I posted here. As you well know, the novel coronavirus has spread across the globe at an alarming rate these past weeks and travel has come to a screeching halt. As a Map Geek, I am a true global citizen, so this worldwide pandemic has affected me to the core.
I have been pulling up many of the destinations on the Discovery Map website and looking and wondering how everyone is faring throughout. Are you allowed to walk on the beaches of Cape May, New Jersey right now? What about in San Diego, California? Can you take a dip in the ocean at Cozumel, Mexico? What’s it like to walk down the street of one of the picturesque towns of The Berkshires (in Massachusetts) on a dewy spring morning without a soul around? Is it possible to grab takeout from one of Providence, Rhode Island’s fabulous Italian restaurants? Are they still serving up some of that gorgeous lowcountry food in Hilton Head/Bluffton, South Carolina? I can practically taste that delicious crab rice topped with shrimp, fried green tomatoes and beer-and-bacon-braised greens. I hope they’re still preparing their jalapeño cornbread and peach cobbler. I’m wondering which of the fantabulous bars and restaurants featured on our Discovery Maps are selling craft cocktails to go. And what shops are depending more on online shopping than actual in-store purchases? Basically, I just want to know how it’s going for everyone out there.
We’ve all been adjusting to so many changes and I couldn’t be more proud of my Discovery Map peeps and people the world over in fact. We are one. We are united in dealing with this scourge and the frightening consequences it has had for all of us throughout our planet. But there is so much light within all of this darkness that I couldn’t be more grateful to be a Map Geek who knows about all of these amazing places around the globe. That means from Alaska to Zanzibar I can send out positive vibes to all affected by this crisis.
April marks the height of spring, a season of rebirth and transformation and that’s exactly what has been happening among us. That was, in fact, so much a part of the Easter message this year. What kind of new life can come from all this? This unthinkable world health and economic crisis has offered all of us opportunities for growth. We’ve all had to adapt to a new way of living, a new way of being together even though we’re obligated to distance ourselves physically from each other. Take the Good Friday service that was celebrated within the charred remains of the fourteenth-century Notre Dame Cathedral in France that took place just days shy of the one-year anniversary of its burning (another unthinkable occurrence). Attended by only seven people yet broadcasted to millions on one of Christianity’s holiest day of the year, it was extraordinary. People have come together to begin to rebuild Notre Dame and together we will defeat this virulent virus was the message from the archbishop of Paris who officiated. Like Phoenix, we will rise from the ashes and not only survive, but thrive. That’s the Easter message that we can take with us throughout this whole year and perhaps into 2021.
Saturday Night Seder, a star-studded streaming Passover Seder that raised almost $3 million for the CDC Foundation’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund, aired Saturday, April 11th, and it, too, marked a first. Who could have imagined even just a few months back that a virtual seder would be held for Jews–as well as anyone who tuned in–to come together for a vital cause? As the show loosely followed the structure of a traditional seder, the idea of looking forward to something better rang true. The closing song, which featured celebrities and healthcare professionals talking about their situations while offering optimism and hope, not only honored the Jewish tradition of the Seder but surely uplifted many on many levels.
Ramadan, the holiest of holidays for Muslims, begins at sunset on April 23rd and ends at sunset on May 23rd. Abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset is a fundamental part of the worship during this period. Muslims believe that fasting brings them closer to God and allows them to empathize with those less fortunate. This demonstration of willpower is rooted in the pillars of the Muslim faith. Although it’s unclear exactly how this will play out this year across the globe, many mosques have already discouraged large gatherings and are transmitting their services virtually. And instead of sharing communal feasts at the breaking of the fast each evening, people are encouraged to stay home and eat among their family members.
Indeed, this is a period of rebirth, renewal and rediscovery. Adaptation to a host of restrictions is also key. Are you readily accepting your newfound sequestration and making the best of it? Are you spending your lockdown time sitting on the couch binge watching “Game of Thrones” and eating mac and cheese? Or is this whole experience leading you to more of a transformation? Granted most are overeating these days and turning to the TV for escapism, but I feel that there is something far more noble going on nonetheless. In the absence of doing some of our favorite things such as traveling, eating out, shopping and hugging, we are discovering other parts of ourselves. We are finding deeper ways of connecting with others despite the fact that we’re apart. We’re cultivating an even greater appreciation for what has been put on hold for us right now, whether it be a family trip to the beach, a ski trip to the mountains with friends, shopping with the ladies, celebrating a special event out at a restaurant or countless other favorite activities that we can no longer enjoy in quite the same way. It will all come back in due time. It might not be exactly like it was before–at least not right away–but in many respects, I think it will be even better. And best of all, you will appreciate these incredibly social experiences even more.
Wishing all of you good health, godspeed and lots of glorious moments during this fresh spring season of growth.