shadows of my dog and me running in the snow

How are you?

shadows of my dog and me running in the snow

When asked, how do you say you are these days?

Lately I’ve been answering, “Held together by duct tape.” On the real humdinger days (anyone else have a student struggling with remote learning?), I say, “Held together by Scotch tape — gotta go.” 

But, big picture, those answers are not really true, not even metaphorically speaking. 

The concrete thing that is holding me together in this time of uncertainty — pandemically and politically — is a combination of prayer, yoga and running the dog.

Those half-hours, sometimes whole-hours, every morning give me time to hear myself think and, when I’m in the groove, time to actually stop hearing myself think and focus on something bigger, something beyond myself, beyond the here and now.

On the days I get in the zone, when I hit that runner’s high, when I get closer to holding bakasana (crow pose), when I find myself perfectly still and that *ping* of inspiration arrives, I remember that what truly holds me together is hope.

Hope for the future and, perhaps more importantly, hope for the now. What is more important than being fully present in this moment, loving and helping our people and those around us in the midst of so much uncertainty?

Recently I was thinking about the songtrack of my early life in Minnesota, pre-2001, when my husband and I moved to Washington state, and one of the songs that came to mind was “From a Distance,” sung by Nanci Griffith.

I was introduced to the song in 1990, when the global context was very different, but when I listened to that song again last week, it struck me as a song for this moment. Here are a couple of verses: 

From a distance the world looks blue and green
And the snow-capped mountains white
From a distance the ocean meets the stream
And the eagle takes to flight

From a distance there is harmony
And it echoes through the land
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace
It’s the voice of every man …

Wherever you are, I pray for your heart to be filled with hope. 

(Originally published in The Same Loon, my e-newsletter, Nov. 12, 2020.)

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