The kaleidoscope summer

11 May 2020 | 01:17

As our old ways continue to get altered, new ways do seem to get revealed. It reminds me of nothing so much as looking through a kaleidoscope: The same stuff, twisted up, jumbled and, yes, re-ordered. It’s not just Chaos, but a New Order I’m learning to see.

The natural world, in its indifferent way, brought Covid and provoked the big slowdown, but not a shutdown. More of us at home noticed and enjoyed buds, sprouts, bees, watching birds nest and the rhythms of pets. Without the rat-a-tat cascading of appointments, programs, events, there was more organic-based activity: walking, meandering, wandering, weeding, planting. Time shifted from the urgent “now” to “this week,” then “soon.” Some things emerge clearer at slower, lower energies: smells, moods, moving shadows. Daily life is more a meditation than it used to be. That righteous impatience of last year’s fully scheduled life now seems so unfashionable.

“Home” for better and worse, is no longer just a waystation. It’s the epicenter, moving from background to foreground. Incidental activities have taken on importance. So care, repair, getting, preparing food have taken on more personal meaning, recalling worldwide traditions of household spirits and deities that have always lived with us.

Outside, too, that kaleidoscope image has helped me find new places close to home, thin places that hold and reflect this new hybrid world. That huge, 10-acre Sanfordville School solar field in Warwick is a window into this reconfigured world of nature, science, culture, history all jumbled up together. There’s easy access with a 10-foot-wide mowed grassy path around a massive gleaming solar array, with warning signs of Caution High Voltage and Area Under Surveillance. There’s a 9/11 Peace Memorial, a lively pond, treacherous groundhog holes and an old farm cemetery. There are angry piles of brush, dead trees and fallen limbs. I half-expected to see ghosts of students lost and smell sulphur hissing out of some crack from hell. Go walk around. It’s right off Route 94, that old Lenape trail, in use for hundreds of years.