Cloister Commentary, Day 4: “A Marathon, Not a Sprint” (March 24, 2020)

This was a bit of a rough one. Nicole and I had decided several days ago to limit ourselves to two hours a day of COVID-19 news and research–this is a marathon, not a sprint–but it was difficult under the circumstances to disengage. The situation was not helped by a press conference we watched. The speaker was not the least bit inspiring, encouraging, or reassuring; in fact, he appeared unfamiliar with public speaking; inexperienced in either reading from a text or talking extemporaneously and authentically to his audience; at sixes and sevens when reaching for vocabulary (a septuagenarian, one would think by now, would have acquired a decent sized one by default); and unable to convince himself, least of all his audience, that his predictions about time were realistic. I felt shame and embarrassment for him (and us, to a degree), and as I reached for the remote, the local news station abruptly broke from the conference as if reading my mind. Oh yes, too, we were further depressed to see the agents of disaster capitalism stretching out their bony, abandoned-by-God fingers to claw more money into their coffers at such an opportune time (for them).

BUT. Simple pleasures.

Twining’s Irish Breakfast Tea (I have it in the afternoon). “Flipping the house”; we have a dog that’s hostile to cats upstairs and five cats downstairs, and we frequently reverse that. Starting new Benjamin Franklin-inspired journals. Reading about union victories in Chicago in the past–and yesterday (look it up!) Talking to a very cool teacher named Kelly Penn on the phone. Going for a walk in the sunshine. Eating very green and buttery peas for the first time in a long time. Finishing a book, and adding a new one to my stack, thanks to my ward councilman Mike Trapp. Admiring the parallel hijinks of Saul Goodman and Mike Ehrmantraut. And, of course, applying some musical salve…

Streaming for Shut-Ins: Thanks, Matthew, for the nudge! It’s not the full record, but the track is almost 25 (dazzling) minutes long. This musician evokes OTHER worlds:

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