Love in the Time of Corona: Venice Underwater – Is Manhattan next?

Venice Underwater — Is Manhattan Next?

I had flagged this article back in November when the floodwaters were rising in Venice and then set it aside.  My title, Venice Underwater — Is Manhattan Next? was referring to the literal flooding of Manhattan as an island susceptible to sea level rise.  Fast forward three months and both Italy and New York are flooded with Covid-19, the lungs of its inhabitants filling with fluid as they attempt to fend off a novel virus with no cure and limited testing.  Life speaks in metaphor and so does the earth.

In metaphysical speak, there are four elements:  fire, earth, air, and water, each with its own symbols and signature energy.  Water represents emotion in astrology, tarot (cups), acupuncture, feng shui, many more, I’m sure.  As for the lungs, they represent life energy.  Depriving the lungs of air is probably one of the quickest ways to die; you can last about four days without water and about 40 days without food, but you only get about four minutes without air. 

The lungs also speak the language of grief.  Not coincidentally, Grief is currently riding sidesaddle with the coronavirus and it’s pretty clear that society is grappling with the fallout.  We’re grieving the loss of our normal routine; of our inability to chat and share and break bread with our friends and neighbors; to ride public transit; to go to the movies (particularly acute for me); to hug and shake hands; to shop without face coverings or the worry of contracting the virus while buying groceries; to homeschool young kids and work from home at the same time (like, impossible); and we’re grieving the actual physical loss of friends and loved ones as the world that we once knew changes in ways that a few months ago we could have never imagined.

I’ve been working remotely for about four weeks now.  Teleworking has comprised some part of my routine for the last 25 years so that part is not new.  What is new are the reasons behind it. My husband who has MS is immunocompromised so I am grateful for the ability to work at home since the very real danger of bringing something into the house plagues my every trip to the store — which have been few and far between — and barrages my optimism.  How can you protect against something you can’t see?

My soon to be 20-year old is home, her in-person sophomore year in college now aborted for an online version that she is having difficulty navigating.  Gone are her friends, her teachers, her classes, her “cute room” that she finally had fixed up the way she wanted.  Where there used to be parties on weekends are now just two boring parents, a couple cats and the dog for company.  Where there used to be afternoons in the park are now just her childhood bedroom, dressed up with colored lights to make the dark times a little more sparkly, but to be thrust back into the role you’d recently outgrown feels a bit like wrestling with a crocodile — it’s impossible to get a grip.  I completely understand all this and have been offering suggestions to ease the burden, but what, really, can any of us do to make another’s grief go away?

Last night I told my son — a senior in college this year who has no graduation ceremony and no last rites of passage from childhood to adulthood to look forward to as a result of corona — not to come home for Easter.  He’s been at college which he reports is a ghost town but for a few of his buddies who also stayed in their apartments because of various commitments.  My son had an internship to finish up which he needs to graduate, hence why he went back.  Plus, he studies better at school. When he made the decision to go back to school I cried — not in front of him because I didn’t want him to feel bad — knowing that it would come do this:  choosing to keep our house germ-free over seeing my kid.  That’s a tough choice for a parent, but the last time my husband got sick he ended up in the hospital.  Through that lens, it’s no longer seems like a choice, but still, I didn’t sleep well last night because of it.

I have been unable to write, or draw, or cook anything that I don’t have in my memory banks, meaning, nothing much new or interesting is happening.  I’ve done very little gardening, mostly because the weather has been crappy, but really, it’s just me being … what is it? Lifeless?  Limited?  Anxiety ridden?  Grief stricken?  Or, as my friend Bob and I like to say, “waiting for the other shoe to drop”?

I read an article the other day.  Some twitter troll said— and maybe they were well meaning or just trying to be motivational, I don’t know — that if you don’t come out the other end of this with a new skill or hobby or prolific at something that you’ve wanted for a while then you never really wanted it badly enough.  That made me feel kind of crappy about myself because despite a novel in the works and a blog that I could contribute to every day if I wanted, and freelance writing opportunities to be had, I’ve been frozen in time, able to deal only with work, walking the dog, making dinner, cleaning the house, very little else.  A psychologist called the twitter troll out on it.  I mean, don’t we all have enough to deal with that we don’t need to add self-battering to the laundry list?

Remember the boot that the cops would put on your car if you didn’t pay your parking tickets?  I feel like I have one of those on my throat right now.  It’s tight, like it’s struggling with what to say, and the moral decisions of everyday life are overwhelming it.  I told my daughter whose motivation is at an all-time low right now that:  “you think I’ve got it all together because I manage to get up and work everyday, but you’re wrong.  Everyday I’m dying a little inside.  Same as everyone else.”  It’s tough to admit to your kid that you’re struggling, too, and that maybe you don’t have all the answers.

But here’s what I know:  life is cyclical.  It ebbs and flows.  The tide comes in, the tide goes out.  We’ll get through this, a bit more battered and bruised, but the world will go on and so will we.  Refracted light tells a different story that maybe we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.  The world will look different, sure, but what if it changed for the better, ushering in things like universal health care; a living minimum wage (a special thank you to all the grocery store workers putting their health on the line so the rest of us can have fresh vegetables); a social safety net that protects the most vulnerable among us and not just the stock market and those who invest in it; and maybe, just maybe, the return of the American Dream where millions aren’t always on the outside looking in?

[Thanks to whoever took this picture!]

I think the earth is trying to tell us something.  Perhaps we can use this time of isolation to tune in and really listen.  Maybe we’ll understand how to navigate this brave new world being presented to us.  In the meantime, be safe, be well. 

pam lazos 4.10.20 

 

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
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57 Responses to Love in the Time of Corona: Venice Underwater – Is Manhattan next?

  1. My 20-yo daughter stayed in Oregon, where she lives off-campus with housemates. I face-timed her last night and she and her housemates seem to be having a good time: all having a Seder and eating together. I’m feeling selfishly glad my kids are both juniors (in high school and college, respectively). Maybe they will still get graduations, but who knows what it will all look like next year?

    I’ve seen a lot of deserved pushback on that twitter troll you mention. But I think you’re onto something that we have an opportunity to change and remake the world when this is over. Maybe we can do it specifically *not* by pushing ever forward to new heights, but by taking a look around at who and what has been left behind, and extending a welcoming, comforting hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hugs abound to you from Wisconsin! I wish I could provide some thoughtful words of hope, but you’re so right that everyone’s feeling that boot. But if we can at least stretch ourselves, reach out to feel SOMEthing, anything, then we are not fargone. Chin up, Lazos Family, and take heart!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      We did a lot of zooming and facetiming yesterday and while it wasn’t the same as being together, it didn’t help lighten the load and the mood. We’ll get through this. We have the tools. We can rebuild (him). (You’re too young to remember, Jean, but that was the tagline from the $6 million dollar man!) ;0) Hope you had a fine Easter with the kiddos and hubs. Now off we go back to Monday, homeworking and homeschooling! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, I do too know the 6million dollar man! (though you’re right I didn’t watch show. why *did* I know that? something parodied it…Muppet Babies? Probably Muppet Babies, lol) we’ll make him faster. stronger.

        more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound…

        waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait a second….

        LOL xxxxxxx Happy schooly dooly wooly stuff! LMAO!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        Yessssss!!!! 😂🤣🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda Schaub says:

    This was very thought provoking as well as gut-wrenching at the same time Pam. I have the same listlessness and lack of focus feeling, moving about like an automaton, not knowing the days apart from each other, even though nothing has really changed in my simple routine – a morning walk if weather permits, working from home and no one that comes to the house (I have no family), but yes, the feeling that something more amiss will come along. You have bigger concerns than most of us do – our issues are being forced to be inside or perhaps loss of jobs/income … we can always go outside our homes again and do the things we took for granted before, the everyday pleasures, etc. and we can always get another job, even if it is not in our chosen career or what we had, but to worry about the future due to existing medical conditions certainly trumps everything else. I read a sad post by Norm (Norm 2.0) a few days ago. I don’t know if you follow him but he has heart problems and to get COVID-19 would certainly leave him in fear of his life as well. My heart goes out to you and your family, your daughter’s return to childhood from newfound adulthood, your son’s angst as he has that coveted degree yet grapples with dotting all the i’s and crossing the t’s and your decision to have him stay away this holiday. May your family come out of this pandemic crisis unmarred physically and mentally Pam.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Linda, thank you so much for such a heartfelt blessing. I am returning the favor and wish all the best for you as well. Stay healthy and I hope that you can get out to the park sometime soon. Your mental health is important, too! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        You are welcome Pam. Having lived with my mom, who was in constant chronic pain for most of her life (having had 42 orthopedic operations in her lifetime), I am well aware of the worries that we have for our loved ones who must depend on us from time to time. While we are/were not caregivers in that sense of the word on an every day basis, there are times that we have to (or in my case had to) rise to the occasion. I know the worry. You take care of your family Pam – stay healthy. I know our mental health can take a beating right now if we do not take proper measures. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        You, too, Linda.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Meredith Pool Burnett says:

    Nice article speaking to the range of emotions during this time, and ways it is impacting us in varied stages of life. Endings without seeming sense of closure in many cases for college and high school students. The word dichotomy keeps coming to mind for me during this time. Thankful to be home with my nuclear family and enjoying some days, while trying to find a quiet place to work, working hard and struggling to try to maintain balance with home life responsibilities other days.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hilarymb says:

    Hi Pam – I’m glad I’ve got the blog and lots of personal stuff to get done … so doing a little everyday – slowly getting through things … and then have some projects to start off; but can understand the kids … missing out on things, or just not able to be kids … while you needing to be extra careful – I’m just grateful if’s just me … and I’m an independent soul – who just gets on quietly with things … and I’d seen it coming – a week later would have been perfect … so did get myself caught up a little – but through that now. All the best to you all … Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Pam
    You are doing great and this post shows that you are being productive. Be kind to yourself!
    We are all doing what we can and coping the best that we can. In the beginning I thought that at the end of this I would have to be speaking French, have a couple of mosaic pieces completed and lose 20 pounds. Now I just enjoy every day, some days I am productive, some days not as much, and that is perfectly fine.
    You and your loved ones be safe and be blessed! ♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

  7. theburningheart says:

    I am afraid that we have not yet heard the end, or the worst of it, I am very concerned about the situation of many countries in the third world, where most of the people do not enjoy the luxuries of the living, and traveling space, nor can they stop working, to get their daily bread, and not to mention hospitals, and medicines to combat the terrible virus, neither an infrastructure to deal with mayor disasters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      I agree. And given our global nature, all that sick 😷 will just keep bouncing around the world until what, I’m not sure. It’s sad and scary, but we keep on. Thanks 😊 for stopping by. 🙏

      Like

  8. Kathe W. says:

    Pam- we each are coping in our own way. You have a huge responsibility for not only your husbands health, but for yours and your children’s. And you are doing the right things. I cannot compare my life and responsibilities to anyone else’s. We each are adjusting to this serious time, but I believe in time things will be better. I just try each day to do something to help others. It’s what I can do. You take care and stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ken Dowell says:

    If it makes you feel any better I don’t think I’m coming out of this with any new skills either. That is unless you count patching up the drain pipe that my washing machine dumps into so that it might hold on until my plumber comes back to work. This is a lovely post. I feel we just sat down and had a long talk, although I mostly just listened.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Aww, thanks, 🙏Ken. And patching up pipe drains counts. We’re waiting on the part that goes from the toilet tank to the bowl so we can replace it. The one on there now cracked – it’s plastic – and started leaking so we have to shut the water to the toilet off after each use so we don’t wake up with a flooded bathroom. My husband can fix it so not a new skill, but a good one to have. Yesterday, I had to climb down into the pit where our well pump lives because we lost power in the wind storm and the pump needed to be primed. Mind you, I don’t know how to do these things myself, but since my husband can’t climb down the ladder he just talks me through it. Reminds me of when I was a kid and my father would have me go up on the roof to fix the antenna (he was afraid of heights) until my mother would come out and yell at him for sending a 10-year old up on the roof. I think our resiliency, which looks a heck of a lot like skills, develops over time. Good luck with the drainpipe. I think it’s going to hold!💗💕 Happy Easter! 🐣

      Liked by 1 person

  10. TanGental says:

    Nature is giving us the finger here with the finest weather since Shakespeare write sonnets and Keats went all gushy about the seasons. It’s earth payback, isn’t it? Not that im getting all metaphysical you understand

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Susan Scott says:

    Enervated is how I feel. Not hugely so because I am basically well and healthy but I am aware of a listlessness lurking. Thanks Pam for writing so clearly about this. It came without warning and has upended our usual way of living. May you and family stay safe and well in these very uncertain times. ❤️🌺

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      You too, Susan. We all need to cut ourselves a bit of slack and take account of what’s really important. All the striving we do on a daily basis is to have a happy life and to feel secure in it, at least for most people. Maybe we already have a lot of that and just don’t realize it because of all the distractions. You and the family be well. Sending loads of love.💗 💕 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Pam. Thank you for sharing your feelings and what you’re going through. This whole thing has been so unreal. I have four grandkids that life as they knew it just stopped. I have a daughter who just lost her job. This virus has taught me to be so grateful for every breath I take and that my family is well. There does seem to be a feeling in the air that life will not go back to the way it was, but a completely new reality will move in. We already feel that. I have the feeling that it will be hard but good things will come out of it. Keep well, and we’ll all just have to see where this takes us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      And to envision the kind of world 🌎 we’d like to inhabit. Things can change for the better, right, Michele? I hope your daughter finds a better job and your grandkids learn the value of stillness and introspection. My 19-yr old actually wrote in a journal yesterday! 👏Things are moving and changing and growing. 🌺

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My darling, that twitter troll plainly has nothing to worry about, I mean seriously worry about re those they love best and where they are right now. Way too much pontificating going on that way, mainly from those who don’t really have those things, so are speaking on behalf of the universe and all its components if you ask me -not that I would ask me–about how we are not doing this or that, when what we are is in the bit we are inhabiting, doing our best every day, as you say, People fall into categories and seldom has this been plainer. In these categories are listeners and survivors, the rudders still on their boats, their hands on the tillers, because they know what counts. and it sure ain’t playing at anything other than what counts wight now x

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I agree, Pam, that the earth is trying to tell us something. If we don’t listen and learn this time, what will Mother Earth do next to get our attention? Lovely post. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks for sharing, Pam. I’ve put on hold my plan to self-publish my second novel this year. I’ve also not been able to work on my current book in progress. My thoughts are too scattered, too focused on the ways this virus has upended our lives.

    I love when your opening remarks and when you say: “Life speaks in metaphor and so does the earth.” But, it’s not just our species that face suffocation. Because of human behavior, all living species across our planet are also facing suffocation.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi, Pam. Dealing with work, walking your dog, making dinner, and cleaning the house sounds like a handful. Hope you, your husband, and your daughter find new ways to appreciate one another. Be patient with yourself. Thanks for the reminder life ebbs and flows. We will get through this. Thanks for the reminder the world can be a better place as a result of the coronavirus. And thanks for the picture of the bear. Made me laugh. Hope you and your loved ones are well and staying safe. Bob

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Catwoods says:

    So well said Pam, for such a strange and unsettling time! I hope you stay safe and everything will work out well for you and your family! A real challenge for us too as I have limited energy and am now busier than ever trying to keep up. And, now, for us there is a serious severe weather possibility predicted for Sunday . . . yikes . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Oh, no, Leah, what kind of weather?? Lots of flooding a couple weeks ago in the Midwest. Complications on top of complications. 😫 it’s been so windy here – 60mph – so our power went out a couple times yesterday but all our trees are still standing! Sending good vibes your way. 🥰😘❤️

      Like

      • Catwoods says:

        Sad about the flooding! All kinds of severe windstorms are predicted including long-track tornadoes and violent tornadoes. Conditions could change for better or worse before then. We have a place we will go to that mostly stood during an EF4 in 2011(with us in it). It’s a terrible dilemma for those in really unsafe housing who would need to go to tightly closed tornado shelters with many others. No social distancing there. Link for more details if interested. https://www.alabamawx.com/?p=208842

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        Oh my, what a mess!! Stay safe!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. lampmagician says:

    If we listen to, we will understand 🙏❤
    Great, just Great 👍❤🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Jan Groft says:

    Beautiful, Pam! Sending cyber hugs and all good wishes for your family. xo

    Liked by 3 people

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