Snow falling on green leaves here in Minnesota seems symbolic of the times we are in. I wonder what is the hurry for this snow and cold to come so early. What is the hurry for the next Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed so quickly when congress should give its attention to making sure people who are ill and without jobs receive what they need to survive?
And why is COVID hurrying the death of a childhood acquaintance who should have had another two decades to live? Having just received that news, I want to shout at the groups crowded around small tables in a corner of the local supermarket to have Saturday morning coffee and gossip without masks as though their bodies were invincible. This is at a time when COVID cases are on the rise in the mid-west. Minnesota, where I am now, has seen a recent spike, with October case numbers looking like those seen in April and May.
Yet, this COVID-centered time is not all bad. My sister-in-law gets to spend an hour or two most days face-to-face online doing learning activities with her grandson in another city. In a normal year, he would be going to school and she would not have this opportunity. When I am at home, I also have the delightful opportunity to spend several hours a week with neighbor elementary school children practicing their Spanish and doing other hands-on learning activities. They enjoy this escape from their daily online schooling. A friend of ours in Harrisonburg, who is a high school teacher, says he can give more than usual time to the English language learners in his math classes because he meets with them face-to-face in the classroom while the other students are at home doing online classes. The English language learners feel much more comfortable in those settings where they do not have to compete with native speakers for attention. As an ELL tutor myself, I am happy that those who often feel like underdogs can have this opportunity to feel they are on more equal footing with their classmates.
Even though the snowfall seems out of season, as do other happenings, it also covers over dirt and imperfections, creating pure beauty. My hope is that for some, at least, this time will be remembered for experiencing moments of surprising joy and satisfaction.