April 23, 2020

The Really Long View

In 2017, Jamie and I went to Spain to visit the Basque Country, and to visit a friend. We had met Eneko Dorronsoro, a trikitixa player, when we hosted a house concert with Eneko and the most wonderful Lucas Hicks and Thomas Deakin. The house concert was magic, as evidenced by people walking by our house and stopping, stunned by the gorgeous music, and sitting on our steps until it was over. Eneko says it was the best concert he ever did and invited us to visit. An offer we couldn’t refuse. What a visit it was! We fell in love with Euskal Herria and all things Basque. One of the most memorable things we did while there was to visit Cueva de Covalanas on a rainy day. Jamie and I were the only ones there and the guide took us into the cave to show us cave paintings that are estimated to be 19,000-20,000 years old. The detail was astonishing and she was able to show us with her flashlight how the flickering of a lamp could make the animals seem as if they were running. She called them “the first motion pictures”.

I think about this long view when I start to fear for our future. Easy to feel that fear, and wonder when humans will ever learn to help each other, rather than fight. It is easy to get discouraged by the denial of facts, the accusations, the hoarding, the blaming, the greed. But I think back to those humans 20,000 years ago who entered those narrow caves and painted those animals and see how far we have come. I see that most people are good and want to help. Somehow, we will get through this, although we may go backwards for while. Keeping the long view helps keep me steady and out of fear.

It is easy to get discouraged, when people are calling the pandemic a hoax, protesting the public health recommendations. It is easy to get discouraged and fearful. But the truth is most people are doing their job and staying home, some push it more than others, but we are making a difference. Treatments and managing patients with COVID-19 is improving. When the health care system is not overwhelmed, the survival rate is better and less health care workers get infected.

Slowing things down also gives time for a vaccine to be developed and there is some good news on that front. This is a good article that explains why it will work better than the flu vaccine and the next shows that it does some to protect from infection. This gives me hope. I am starting to think that the country can start opening up more safely with more testing in the next few months, with those of us higher risk playing it safe until the vaccine comes. Here is some good advice from the King County Health Department about protecting more vulnerable adults if you live with them. We can do this. I am taking the long view.

Wash your hands.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.