Change Is In the Air

It’s summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, almost half of Americans are fully vaccinated, and we’re ready to play. Is there fun in your future?

Photo by Jess Zoerb on Unsplash

Happy Summer Solstice and Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads!

It’s Midsummer, and for the first time in many years in the upper Midwest, it feels as if summer really is in full swing. The temp has been in the upper 90s, the grass and fields are parched, and people are cramming the airports and snatching up last-minute cabin and rental car reservations. Or so I’ve heard from family and friends. What plans do you have for this northern hemisphere glorious summer?

The longest day of summer—when the sun sits directly over the Tropic of Cancer—is only a blip on the calendar, but the energy surge is felt all month with incrementally longer days of light. Summertime reminds me of everything I loved as a kid: freedom to roam and explore, long days of play outside, popcorn at dusk on the picnic table, family road trips, retreats to a cabin, picnics at the park with Grandparents and cousins, Sunday afternoon family golf, jampacked days swimming and climbing pine trees and fishing offshore, firefly chasing and fireside smores, and reading under the covers with a flashlight late into the night. What are your favorite summertime memories?

It’s been 15 months since the U.S. locked down from COVID-19. It feels longer. All year we’ve had to expect the unexpected, adjust to uncertainty, adapt to abrupt changes in plans, add responsibilities to our daily routines, think twice about every excursion out, and accommodate disruption. I don’t even remember the summer of 2020. Do you?

Despite warnings of a COVID-19 surge with the delta variant, almost half of Americans are fully vaccinated and many are planning summertime escapes. It’s not quite a “normal” summer—there’s still a risk of getting sick and transmitting the virus to children, elders, and those who are unvaccinated or immune-compromised. We still have precautions (don’t we?), and some of us are more reticent to mingle in crowds and jump back into social events. But a picnic in the park, a swim at the beach, a bike ride to wherever, or a hike through the woods, carry little risk. Aren’t you ready to play?

Although I have no plans to travel yet, I’m happy for those who are off exploring. I’m playing, instead, with words and new structures on the page. In light of this season for change and renewal—and reminders of summers on the beach—I share my short hermit crab essay with you (which uses a structure “borrowed” from the shell or form of another type of document).

Thank you for reading. Now go play!

Celebrate summer; celebrate Dad; celebrate (relative) freedom. Blessings to all.

~ Janice

Hermit crabs, Photo by Thomas Lipke on Unsplash

Hermit Crab Essay: Letter of Dismissal

June 20, 2021

Dear SARS-CoV-2:

We regret to inform you that your service is no longer needed in the global human marketplace. We have reviewed your terms of original intent and concluded that you have completed your disservice here on earth.

We acknowledge that you taught us how vulnerable we are to worldwide pandemics. Rest assured, we intend to institute new precautions and take aggressive steps to ensure that your progeny or comrades cannot infect and kill so many of our species again.

Since your emergence in 2020, we have learned to work together across many disciplines to develop, test, and disseminate vaccines specifically targeted to your spike proteins, in record-breaking time. We are still working out patents and rights but have reassured our constituents that total eradication is possible, with their compliance. Yes, humans demand respect for individual rights and authority for personal decisions. They are still learning that this choice is bigger than each of them. You were very clever in setting this precedence.

We learned, however, that information alone doesn’t change behavior. Humans are complicated, emotional, and determined beings; something you most likely did not consider when you chose our species.

Because of your international travels and agile evolution, we now know how important is to obtain accurate and scientific evidence of your origin and to track your dissemination. We are mobilizing plans for future pandemics—we won’t be caught off-guard like this again.

We also acknowledge your influence in raising our awareness of racial injustice, wealth inequality, and disparities in fairness by gender, age, health status, and living circumstances. The changes toward equality will be incremental, but the lessons were powerful, and we do not need you to magnify them. We will take care of each other.

And although you can’t possibly understand, our most important lesson was realizing how much family matters. It was heartbreaking to say the last goodbye over a piece of inert equipment instead of whispering in our loved one’s ear and holding them close to our heart. You left a chasm, wide and deep. It will take time, but like the Phoenix, we will rise from the ashes and learn to fly with the winds of change. As higher functioning organisms, we capitalize on being adaptable, flexible, and resilient.

You snuck into our biosphere eighteen months ago with lofty intentions. We were too slow in subverting your power. You kept us on our toes as you gallivanted around the world inciting fear and devastation. But now that ten percent of our people are fully vaccinated against you, we feel empowered by our rising global unity against a common enemy.

Your time with us has ended. Please evacuate all premises, wherever you left an imprint on human form. We have changed your genetic password and you will no longer have access to human-derived T, B, or NK cells.

We are going on holiday for the month of July and expect your total and complete absence upon our return.

In great earnest,

The Board of Directors, International Humanity

4 Comments

  1. J Jones on June 20, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Brilliant! Loved it. “Your genetic password has been changed.” Wonderful play on the letter of dismissal. So, so clever – I smiled the entire time I was reading😄

    • Janice Post-White on June 20, 2021 at 12:22 pm

      Thanks so much, J, for reading and commenting. So glad you liked it! Now if only it wasn’t such a dire topic…

  2. Eric on July 25, 2021 at 12:20 am

    Change takes time- more for some than others. Darwin comes to mind…
    In the month since you wrote this we’ve rapidly regressed into a 4th wave that appears to only impact the unvaccinated and non-recovered in this country.
    Many countries/peoples still wait for their chance to get vaccinations.
    Travel is opening for some countries for the fully vaccinated, but Europeans and several other countries are still blocked from entering ours.
    Your writings always remind me take more time to savor special moments and memories

    • Janice Post-White on July 25, 2021 at 9:04 am

      Thanks, Eric, for your perspective. As one whose business relies on international travel, this incredibly long delay challenges more than just feelings of isolation. And yet, you keep perspective and find hope and blessings in the moment. Kudos to you and your family.

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