Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Stone Quarry

They stood likely 50 feet above the water at the edge of this stone quarry. And for those that gave me a glancing thought, those that looked in the direction of the old guy with the bandana pulled up over his mouth and nose, they must have thought I was being somewhat ridiculous.

There were probably 20 or so, teenagers I would guess, maybe blowing off some steam after the months of isolation, maybe celebrating their graduation, likely both. The rules of social distancing as distant from this place and their minds as I am from you who are reading this now. This was the start of Memorial Day weekend and the joy in that thought was not about to be taken from their lives, pandemic or not.

The first of the four, standing in their own little pod, turned his back to his destination and then hurtled off the cliff, flipping as he turned through the air,  landing perfectly and with seemingly little effort in the 80 foot deep water that  awaited his arrival. The others followed, seriatim, although in more conventional jumping fashion.

The decibel of the conversation here that of youngsters with various substances coursing through their systems, the adrenaline of this place, the warm late spring morning, the blue skies all joining forces to create an unbridled sense of freedom from the restrictions the world would superimpose upon them. It was impossible to distinguish this moment from any other that had occurred on this weekend in the past in very different times.

For my family, this gaggle proved a slight inconvenience as they inhabited all those spaces where we would otherwise have been perched. The quarry, for us on this day, but something we could view from obscure angles. Its majesty known to us but partially muted by the sights and sounds of life before Covid 19.

For those like me who continue to fear that this disease has not been informed that its time has passed,  I believe we will soon be made to feel outliers, uncomfortable in our concern. That this nation is more than ready to cast off the shackles. That those that continue to remain in the shadows are merely obstacles and we should step aside. Or be run over.

On Facebook one of my friends posted a short video of an open restaurant at a dock, people congregating in their boats and life apparently receiving a green light to resume.

I get it. I know this nightmare has attached to us with a death grip, unshakeable and unending. And that the toll on this nation's collective psyche has been enormous. But I cannot agree that our fatigue, our unhappiness allows us the liberty to ignore reality. 

I read of the number of new cases reported every day around this nation. And while figures seem but abstractions and we all would wish to conclude the illness has moved on and taken up residence elsewhere it has not.

These are dangerous times. We are all standing on the edge of that cliff, ready to dive into cool waters, deep and refreshing. But if we choose wrongly, when we throw ourselves downward we will find not welcoming arms at the end of our journey but a dry hole. And if that happens, the sounds of happiness will be gone in an instant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent point!