What can each of us do to make this the reality? Let’s value people and our planet over profits. Let’s nourish our full humanity. Let’s work to end greed and oppression. Let’s interrupt ideas of better than and less than. Let’s teach for lasting change. Let’s consume less. Let’s…
By Dori Midnight
We are humans relearning to wash our hands.
Washing our hands is an act of love
Washing our hands is an act of care
Washing our hands is an act that puts the hypervigilant body at ease
Washing our hands helps us return to ourselves by washing away what does not serve.
Wash your hands
like you are washing the only teacup left that your great grandmother carried across the ocean, like you are washing the hair of a beloved who is dying, like you are washing the feet of Grace Lee Boggs, Beyonce, Jesus, your auntie, Audre Lorde, Mary Oliver- you get the picture.
Like this water is poured from a jug your best friend just carried for three miles from the spring they had to climb a mountain to reach.
Like water is a precious resource
made from time and miracle
Wash your hands and cough into your elbow, they say.
Rest more, stay home, drink water, have some soup, they say.
To which I would add: burn some plants your ancestors burned when there was fear in the air,
Boil some aromatic leaves in a pot on your stove until your windows steam up.
Open your windows
Eat a piece of garlic every day. Tie a clove around your neck.
My friends, it is always true, these things.
It has already been time.
It is always true that we should move with care and intention, asking
Do you want to bump elbows instead? with everyone we meet.
It is always true that people are living with one lung, with immune systems that don’t work so well, or perhaps work too hard, fighting against themselves. It is already true that people are hoarding the things that the most vulnerable need.
It is already time that we might want to fly on airplanes less and not go to work when we are sick.
It is already time that we might want to know who in our neighborhood has cancer, who has a new baby, who is old, with children in another state, who has extra water, who has a root cellar, who is a nurse, who has a garden full of elecampane and nettles.
It is already time that temporarily non-disabled people think about people living with chronic illness and disabled folks, that young people think about old people.
It is already time to stop using synthetic fragrances to not smell like bodies, to pretend like we’re all not dying. It is already time to remember that those scents make so many of us sick.
It is already time to not take it personally when someone doesn’t want to hug you.
It is already time to slow down and feel how scared we are.
We are already afraid, we are already living in the time of fires.
When fear arises,
and it will,
let it wash over your whole body instead of staying curled up tight in your shoulders.
If your heart tightens,
science says: compassion strengthens the immune system
We already know that, but capitalism gives us amnesia
and tricks us into thinking it’s the thing that protect us
but it’s the way we hold the thing.
The way we do the thing.
Those of us who have forgotten amuletic traditions,
we turn to hoarding hand sanitizer and masks.
we find someone to blame.
we think that will help.
want to blame something?
Blame capitalism. Blame patriarchy. Blame white supremacy.
It is already time to remember to hang garlic on our doors
to dip our handkerchiefs in thyme tea
to rub salt on our feet
to pray the rosary, kiss the mezuzah, cleanse with an egg.
In the middle of the night,
when you wake up with terror in your belly,
it is time to think about stardust and geological time
redwoods and dance parties and mushrooms remediating toxic soil.
it is time
to care for one another
to pray over water
to wash away fear
every time we wash our hands
Dori Midnight practices community-based intuitive healing that weaves plant and stone medicine, ancestral and queer magic, and justice work.
“I imagine all the closures and cancellations give people a sense of ominousness. But it’s really an amazing act of social solidarity: We’re sacrificing so we can give nurses, doctors and hospitals a fighting chance.”- Matt Pearce Tweet
A couple of families have reached out to me to solicit my opinion on getting together with another child or two. I discourage it. It’s my take that while Gov Brown and the Portland leadership team has taken some significant, bold and decisive steps to limiting the exposure of the virus (prohibiting events of more than 250 people,closing K-12 schools statewide, closing Multnomah County Libraries and shutting down Portland Parks and Rec community centers/swimming pools, etc), there’s more we can do to support social distancing and influence the trajectory of the virus in our immediate community and beyond.
As you know, information (and misinformation) about Covid-19 is moving at tremendous speed– not unlike the virus itself. I expect many of you may be consumed with caring for children and gathering food and supplies to prepare yourselves for these upcoming days. I’m thinking there is likely a range of information we’ve each been able to digest. I have been learning from many folks during the past couple of days, and would like to share my thoughts.
Excerpted from Social Distancing: This is Not A Snow Day.
“ 2.) No kid playdates, parties, sleepovers, or families/friends visiting each other’s houses and apartments.
This sounds extreme because it is. We are trying to create distance between family units and between individuals. It may be particularly uncomfortable for families with small children, kids with differential abilities or challenges, and for kids who simply love to play with their friends. But even if you choose only one friend to have over, you are creating new links and possibilities for the type of transmission that all of our school/work/public event closures are trying to prevent. The symptoms of coronavirus take four to five days to manifest themselves. Someone who comes over looking well can transmit the virus. Sharing food is particularly risky – I definitely do not recommend that people do so outside of their family.
We have already taken extreme social measures to address this serious disease – let’s not actively co-opt our efforts by having high levels of social interaction at people’s houses instead of the schools or workplaces. Again – the wisdom of early and aggressive social distancing is that it can flatten the curve above, give our health system a chance to not be overwhelmed, and eventually may reduce the length and need for longer periods of extreme social distancing later (see what has transpired in Italy and Wuhan). We need to all do our part during these times, even if it means some discomfort for a while.”
Flattening The Curve of Coronavirus Infections (CDC- Center for Disease Control and Prevention) 3/13/20
Social Distancing: This is Not A Snow Day (Ariadnade Labs) 3/13/20