Joy in the Shadow of the Virus

Flavia Potenza
Flavia PotenzaBy Flavia Potenza      December 11, 2020

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Joy in the Shadow of the Virus
Days before Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order in response to the dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases in California, I admit I ventured out of my house over the Thanksgiving weekend to a grocery store, to give blood at the Woodland Hills Red Cross Center, and to cover a local story. I’m glad I did those things but I’m also of a mind that it was foolish to make those choices. The grocery shopping provided me with a lovely solo Thanksgiving dinner at home and a FaceTime call with my son and grandkids. Comfort. I had already scheduled the Red Cross visit, which I do on a regular basis because they call me and say my blood type is needed. This time, in ten days, I can check online to see if I’ve tested positive for antibodies. A noble reason to give and live. (page 17 for Jean Colonomos’ “COVID-19 Diary”) A highlight that weekend was covering Kat High’s Hugelkultur sustainability workshop and a reason to love carbon (page 18). She wisely scaled it down to six invitees to work outside with the two team leaders, nine of us in all. Glorious, purposeful, albeit with cautious socializing, masked and distanced. It was psychologically uplifting while at the same time, the shadowy specter of a deadly virus lurked unseen. The photo of Leigh Adams (above) is here because her joyful enthusiasm is such a balm and the photo made us laugh. The chain saw is a necessity in the landscaping business. In the following pages, we offer some gifts of the season. Chanukah began yesterday and Rabbi Weiss and his wife, Dina, will celebrate by driving around in their Menorah Mobile to bring blessings and a Chanukah kit for congregants to celebrate at home (page 8). Kathie Gibboney muses on “The Spirit of Christmas Present” (page 16), and the pandemically-aware Topanga Christian Fellowship Church is holding Parking Lot services outdoors on the first Sunday of the month (topangachristianfellowship.org; (310) 455-1048). Educator Amy Weisberg documents the “Silver Linings” parents of her kindergarten children have discovered in distance learning under the cloud of uncertainty a virus brings. (page 15) In this time of giving, in the midst of Pandemic 2020-2021, two local non-profits, the Topanga Women’s Circle, and our Topanga Community Center, let us know they are in need of funding (page 5). Please open your wallets and hearts to them and/or your charity of choice. Kait Leonard spotlights Topanga author and poet, Philip Daughtry, (pages 10-11) with a profile of his new book of poems, “Runaway Angels.” Looking for Joys of the Season? Vaccines are coming but call up your common sense for a bit longer and determine to be alive to receive it by taking this pandemic seriously. Make the sacrifice and stay close to home, wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance, Zoom and FaceTime with loved ones and friends or whatever it takes to stay connected. Safely.
Flavia Potenza
      December 11, 2020

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