I.

Hybrid or fearful
Life cannot be put on hold
Schools need to open

II.

A normal finish
Our kids deserve more from us
They are learning fear

III.

Scared is not hiding
Scared is accepting challenge,
Changing behaviors

Note: Opening schools during the pandemic is a decision that is fraught with risk. The health, safety, and welfare of everyone should be the primary concern. Unfortunately, a great many lives will be impacted by the decisions that school leaders make. The risk associated with the virus, the consequences to the economy, and the lessons we learn about our action or inaction are all considerations for deciding when to “get back to living.”

Tough decsions, for sure.

There is no right way. Options and choices seem to be the best approach. Hopefully, people have learned something from the last few months and we can open schools as safely as possible.

Just a thought…

This morning, an off day,
I headed out with my dog
For what would be a short walk
Because he does not like the heat.
It was early, the night’s moisture still heavy,
The sun just starting to blaze.
We headed for a new place,
The next district over,
A rival of sorts, but lots of good folks over there.

Pandemic air is clearing and stuff is coming back
Stuff like sports, including cross country.
Thank goodness for the kids,
They need to be together, learning, competing,
Hell, just being kids
And there were a bunch of them having a run,
It looked like a cross country practice
A lot of runners,
All smiling, laughing, and sticking together.

E and I kept driving, heading around the circle
Making it to the park,
Social distancing, masks, old people, new normal.
I sure prefer the old way,
Hanging with my mates, running without fear,
And I’m scared things will never go back,
That we are too afraid.
I know that sounds callous, unfeeling, maybe delusional, but
If there’s practice, shopping, work, there can be school, too.

It’s going to be hot out there today,
What will I do?
Cozy up to the treadmill with fans and a/c?
Head over to the gyms with a mask?
No and no,
I’m going outside and I quit the gym,
Four months broke me of the need.
More, though, I hope, I gaining a sense of purpose,
Looking to push past my fear,
Learning to live responsibly,
Like the challenge of the heat.
Truth is, I can’t take it anymore,
The seclusion,
The subjugation,
The stasis,
And I’ve been exercising outside all through this thing.
It’s too much to take at this point, the heat cannot win,
Sports, restaurants, they’re sort of opening, but
So much fear still exists.
Don’t get me wrong, people need to be comfortable going out,
People need to decide what is right for them,
I’m ready, ready to take my chances,
Hopefully not putting others at risk,
Ready to get back to work, to school,
To living as normally as possible.
It’s outside, today, heat and all. My bike is calling.
I just don’t care anymore…
In a responsible way.

Nearly four months to the day,
What seems like a lifetime ago,
So much so that today everything seemed new,
I ran with people again,
A group,
The group,
The early risers who dare it all,
Hot,
Cold,
Well not so much the rain,
But a hearty group given
Most of us should probably be walking instead.

Things have changed since March,
Longer hair, declining waistlines, tanner skin, no gloves,
But things hadn’t changed also,
Inappropriate comments, grammar investigations, comradery.
What’s been missing in my running has been social,
Sure, the lone wolf thing has been good,
But I’ve missed the group, the hanging after,
Because it’s good for the soul to be around people
Who can relay stories of squirrel bottle rockets,
Paying to learn that their appearance and DNA pretty much match,
The reasons for wanting to retire in the mountains, and
Probably a whole lot more stuff than my feeble memory could store.

It feels good to be back.
The sweat,
The pace,
The laugher,
That sense that even though we’ve all been through a rough patch
There are still folks out there with a healthy bit of insanity,
The kind that is happy to avoid controversy,
To be content with the day to day living,
Kind of an appreciation for the beauty of predictability,
The folly of the mundane, and
An awareness that life really is meant to be lived.

Four months is too long…

The vacation started just as pandemic restrictions lifted.
The vacation ended just as pandemic restrictions came back.
I’m not sure why, but we can’t learn,
We exist in denial,
We fear every breath, and
It’s bullshit.

I noticed that attitude while walking today,
For three weeks, my outdoor exercising had been so polite,
Pedestrians mattered, cars would stop for people to cross,
But today, my life was in peril,
Cars zooming here and there, little regard for the road’s side.
I missed that politeness.

Which takes me to social distancing and masks,
Pandemic stuff, people not respecting the new ways,
Not caring about others, not seeing the whole road.
The restrictions are returning,
My patience is wearing thin and
I’m tired of people not moving over on the road.

So it’s time,
Tomorrow I’ll give into the road crazies
Getting back to running in the early morning
In the dark, since the drivers don’t watch out anyway,
And my vacation is over…
It’s bullshit.

Alarm clocks,
Contrived annoyances to keep us on track,
The type-A tool of getting ahead,
The faux symbol of responsibility.

I’ve lost them during the pandemic.

My dog wakes me,
Instead of some digital chime.
The sun is out
Instead of night’s darkness.

I’ve developed a normal relationship with the sun.

Easing into the morning is routine,
Leisurely breakfast, sipping coffee, reading news,
Exercising happens when I’m ready,
Not when the bell goes ding-dong.

I’ve gained a relaxed rhythm during the pandemic.

The afternoons pass with quiet family time,
Lazy napping, on Thursdays and Fridays TV golf,
Dinner, PTI, writing, and when the sun sets
Getting ready for bed.

At some point the next day, the sun will rise.

Ima bout to go underground,
The shutdown has been so ugly,
Especially, of late.

Not sure why I’m barking
It’s been pretty easy,
Except for the Shock Doctrine last week or so.

But I’m over this whole thing
The way people treat each other,
The way the people are being treated.

It’s something else,
The free will, the ability to choose,
The lack of respect for our responsibility to all.

It makes me want to retreat,
To get away from the internet,
The one place life is being funneled too.

I want to read, to write, to run
I don’t want to be bothered by web based this
Or app inspired crowd participation for sporting events.

I’m not interested in video games coming to life,
In Zooming with my students like Jane Jetson, or
Whatever is trending according to some egghead logarithm.

Quiet, that’s what I need, not silence,
Just no noise, no static, no fear that if I let my guard down
Someone will take something from me.

Maybe underground is a good place to look,
To find the peace that comes with living,
To find the sweet sounds of life.

The weather is changing,
Pollen blows across our deck,
A sure sign that we are about done with the cold.

Traffic flies by on roads I just started running
Letting me believe the world is coming back to life.
I’m glad. A little sad, too.

I’ve so loved the open spaces for exercise,
Seeing animals come out of hiding,
Watching the satellite photos of pollution dissipating.

I’m glad people are back to life
They need their jobs, they need their routines,
If only we could have this and that.

Running without the dodging,
Taking in the calm,
Able to get out and get paid.

As things get going again,
I’ll keep my head up
And hope the world can meet in the middle.