In an entry I posted on March 30 entitled “A Walk in the Sun”, I predicted the Covid crisis would be over by the beginning of summer. I was wrong. There now appears to be no way to predict how long it’ll go on, not that there ever was. So plans, like flying here or driving there, get put on hold. Everything becomes last minute or not at all. Some people can deal with that. I can’t. For me half the fun is the planning.
So to maintain my sanity I’ve turned to what can be done Covid or not-Covid notwithstanding. Things around the house that have been in the job jar for years. All surprisingly satisfying. Until …
Until it occurs to me that if this keeps up, I’m going to die like all those people I’ve always pitied, with freshly painted soffits on the garage, but never having been to Mongolia.
But then I think about all the people who’d die never having seen Mongolia anyhow, never having wanted to see Mongolia, having wanted nothing more than that the soffits on the garage get that fresh coat of paint. Or, more commonly across the globe, that their children have something to eat today. And then seeing Mongolia doesn’t loom so large.
My father was cursed with a stubborn body. It took five years for the bone cancer to kill him. Three months in the palliative-care-only ward. There was a cork board on the wall at the end of his bed, and during his final couple of weeks his world consisted of sorting out which of the cards pinned there came from whom. It consumed his mind as intensely as some puzzle in political philosophy consumes mine.
The world will be not one whit better off for either of our Herculean efforts. But these moments that will have made up our lives will have been as meaningful to us as Gandhi’s or Stalin’s will have been to each of them. What matters is what matters to him to whom it matters. Something to sometimes keep in mind.