No one alive today was an adult 102 years ago to remember the last global pandemic, although we can draw upon the history of it to inform what we do today. That pandemic was spread by the military of World War One. The COVID-19 pandemic has doubtless spread much faster and wider because of our even greater interconnectedness through today’s global air travel. No one is safe from this “novel virus”– rich and poor, white and black, presidents and voters. It’s very democratic!

Obviously, we are also much more interconnected by telephone and internet than we were a century ago, so news travels rapidly and gives communities such as ours time take measures to slow the spread of the virus. Yet even as we need to keep physical distance from one another, we can draw closer in other ways. Two neighbors have offered to shop for us, as we are both well over 65. We had a family Zoom call yesterday with our sons and their families that was great fun for all. We met friends on the trail on Friday and enjoyed a conversation standing six feet apart.

We are all in this together, more than ever. No longer can we ignore that fact, as we can when a disaster happens somewhere else. Not only are we inextricably interconnected with all other humans, but also the other beings with which we share this planet. May this pandemic be a wake-up call to us all. Let’s not “get back to normal” but allow this pandemic to transform our relationship with one another and with Earth – to one based in love and cooperation for the benefit of all. Together, let’s work for the common good, drawing on our creativity, ingenuity, wisdom, and good hearts.

Molly Brown

Mount Shasta