Should We Go Back to Normal?

This morning I woke from a dream. A dream of friends gathering and behaving as though this pandemic wasn't real. Friends sharing hugs and kisses all the while asking me if I knew anyone who was sick. In my dream I was angry. I was frustrated by their lack of knowledge on how viruses work. As I became confrontational in my dream, my eyes began to open and I drifted slowly back into an awakened state. Laying there, my mind continued to wander. Questions flooded my head. Is this going to get better?  How many people are going to suffer? Will we ever go back to normal? 
Maybe a better question is, should we?

In a few short months our society has stopped consuming so much. We have started to work from home, reducing energy costs and showing marked improvement in our environment. We have stopped shopping everyday and are spending more time with our family and pets. While there are some who have been placed in significant danger around this, the majority are in good positions. 

Should we go back to racing out the door to get stuck in traffic to do a job at a desk that we could do at home? Should we consume so much meat and dairy that millions of animals suffer every single day?  Should we have so many appointments that we cannot enjoy the spring sunshine or listen to the mockingbird song?

It is only about 17 days of my cut off from going out and about. I have worked at home for 13 years.  I use video conferencing regularly and have worked on several personal projects using the same. I'm extremely lucky to have a partner that adore and who I share many hobbies with. I don't miss going out, yet.

I'm privileged that I don't have to expose myself. Others are not so lucky. I have family who work in the "essential worker" categories who post about who nasty and rude people are to them, while they risk exposure to do their jobs. Three months ago people in these roles were told they did not deserve a living wage. This month they are called essential. The food service industry, the supply chain workers, truck drivers and grocery/retail all generally told, if they want to survive they should get real jobs are now the foundation of survival during this crisis. 

As a society we have forgotten our humanity. We have neglected our job as stewards of the earth. We have stopped  caring for ourselves with kindness which allows the seeds of anger and sadness to grow. Our greed for non essentials have pushed our planet to the breaking point. Rivers polluted, animals slaughtered and global suffering. 

I remember my grandmother telling me a story of her youth. She live in a house the no indoor plumbing as a girl. She was responsible for getting the chicken for Sunday dinner. Her eyes would close slightly as her mind drifted back to the time she pulled the feathers off the bird and prepped it to be eaten. She would catch the chicken in the yard. Cut off its head and dress it. 

One a week. One chicken. 

As I look out my window today tractor trailer trucks drive by with hundreds of birds shoved into same cages headed to the slaughterhouse. They have never touched grass or experienced life outside the cage. 

Maybe this is our flood. Maybe this is our wake up call. I am sitting in the subtle irony of mega storms, earthquakes and a global pandemic while watching this group blame that group. Our leaders blatantly disregard facts and lie to protect their hordes stacks of coins while the real joy of life slips through their fingers. 

All I can do is shake my head in disbelief. 

This may be our chance to make some real change on this planet. We can rethink our approach to food production. We can restructure our supply chain and refocus our consummation into sustainability. We can focus on the arts and make working in "essential" jobs not just a living wage, but a thriving wage. 

Maybe going back to normal isn't the best idea. 

Normal, for us is a fast track to extinction. Extinction of kindness.  Extinction of humility. Extinction of humanity.