Coping With COVID-19 (part 1)

By Jean Colonomos

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Coping With COVID-19 (part 1)
Pieter Bruegel, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. Courtesy of
A Covid Diary
These are snippets where I’ve naturally created something modular so you can step into the diary at any place you want.  It’s been very freeing writing-wise. June 19, Juneteenth—155 years ago Friday, the last group of slaves in the United States were freed. Their freedom was bittersweet—it came two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863. This day seems more of a celebration for whites than African Americans. From: #SayHerName: Breonna Taylor—Killed by police in her bed, March 13, 2020; Atatiana Jefferson—Killed by police on October 12, 2019; Charleena Chavon Lyles—Killed by police June 18, 2017; Korryn Gaines–Killed by police, August 1, 2016. Signing off tonight with this from my friend, Etsu Garfias: Because we’re isolated, we have time to go deeper into ourselves. June 20—Fun idea I heard today had me fall in love with its creator. My neighbor, Karla, share a story about this father she knows who registered his six-year-old son for an online class in archeology. At the next class the children are to bring chocolate chip cookies. Their job will be to scoop out the chocolate chips from the cookies that, the teacher says, are the shards for the archeological dig. I imagine a Spanish lady of 1550ish A.D seated in a drafty room sipping a hot cup of cocoa, not knowing it was Conquistador Cortes who brought the cacao beans back from Mexico. Oh, the things we take for granted. On Fathers’ day, my son-in-law Lou shares that eighty percent of his digital manufacturing customers are ordering again. June 22—From Sheila and Ashland’s Bloomsbury Books: Our best selling book today was “WHITE FRAGILITY, Why it’s So Hard for White People To Talk About Racism,” by Robin Diangelo. From Lynn, a Diesel bookseller in Brentwood, CA: Best sellers today were WHITE FRAGILITY, Why it’s So Hard for White People To Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo; and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. It’s about light-skinned female identical twins, one secretly passing for white, the other living as a person of color. June 29—Good news today about the possibility of my daughter flying to LA for a quick getaway from Chicago. I found out something important from my cousin in Northern CA who has a friend working at the CDC. This friend, who takes planes all the time, says not to worry about circulating air as the airlines have much more sophisticated filter systems able to trap bad air. What he worries about are the bathrooms. It’s a tight space and fecal matter can carry the virus. So, he recommends going on flights where you can hold it in. I suggest to Sarah she brings a plastic bag to pee in, tie it up and throw it in the trash. I also learned today that American Airlines isn’t separating passengers anymore. July 11—The echoes of my grandchildren’s laughter yesterday still lives in my belly. The vision of them sliding down the bouncy house water slide in the backyard that my funster daughter rented for eight hours, is still in front of my eyes. Wrapped inside Izzy’s big-sister legs, she and little Maddie speed down the bright red slide. When they land in the pool of water at the bottom, giggles peal through the yard before they climb the stairs to slide down again. All day long their laughter serenades me. So many ways you could turn the metaphor in Breugel’s painting, Landscape of the Fall of Icarus. In it, the plowman plows, the shepherd surrounded by sheep, looks up at the sky, a fisherman sits on a rock, bends towards the green-gray water, perhaps casting a line. On the water a ship with its wind-full sails moves out to sea. Between the ship and the fisherman are two white flailing legs. The head and torso are submerged and in no time the fallen Icarus will drown. Is this what’s happening with American democracy? Our flailing laws drowning, while like everyone in the canvas, looks the other way? July 18—Too drained for hard news tonight where COVID cases increase like our California wildfires.

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July 24, 2020