In the mid 1800’s, there was a deadly civil war and multiple waves of Cholera and Scarlet Fever in the United States, but not any pandemics as great as the one we are dealing with now.
If you’ve been following me, you’ve heard me mention before that many of Emily’s poems have themes of loss and death. At the beginning of the current pandemic I couldn’t even write, couldn’t “jot” one word. I was literally frozen with fear and an overwhelming sense of loss and despair. We took the situation very seriously and really did stay home unless it was absolutely necessary to go out. For three months, my husband tried to make me laugh as he watched me sit and wallow in sadness. That’s when I picked up Emily Dickinson again. As Professor Elizabeth Sagaser of Colby College says in her essay on DIckinson: “As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Dickinson’s poems of loss and longing can be good company.” For me, that was true and I slowly started pulling myself out of my funk.
I also had to start packing for our move, so out of necessity, was forced to get my act together.
Americans, and the world, watched the Covid-19 case numbers and deaths tick higher and higher each day. We mourned the lost lives of so many friends and loved ones and watched helplessly as the virus took its toll on everyone, young and old. We also witnessed many incredible acts of kindness and gained fresh perspectives and new appreciation for everything we’d taken for granted. Yes, we all needed toilet paper and disinfectants, but most of all, we found we needed our loved ones.
And Science. We needed Science, because you can’t just make up stuff or ignore it and end a pandemic.
And Science is coming through for us now. I just received my second and final Covid-19 Vaccine today, so I feel a renewed sense of hope. I’ve talked to others who feel the same. It’s not over yet, but we can finally see a light at the end of the long dark tunnel we’ve been hunkered down in.
Today’s Carol and Emily poem is about this past year and where we are today, thanks to Love and Science.
Dickinson in Pandemic Days – Colby MagazineColby Magazine · Colby College