Several million years ago in an ancient age, still unforgotten, I had a basket of hospital socks in basket near my back door. My household accumulated these socks while I cared for my mom and the man who loved me. Red, blue, green, beige--a guest could choose a color that pleased them while keeping their feet cozy and safe on my slippery floors.
They went somewhere, those socks. Goodwill. The homeless people in a Ventura park. The auction I had before I moved to Minneapolis. I don't quite remember.
I have a pair of hospital socks now. Last week I had a lithotripsy of my right kidney. It was not as uncomplicated as I expected. Our bodies, and our Earth, are complex beyond our imagining. One thing tips into another. This causes that. That causes another thing, and another. A kidney stone might take 67 years to amass before it renders its agony. A planet rotates, tilts on its axis, while one era groans its hard birth to the next. Creatures who once ambled through ferns move toward the water, their legs and feet morphing into flippers. But when we look inside those flippers today, the fingers and toes are still there.
Everything we do to our bodies (and the things that are done to them) and our Earth have interconnected consequences.
Remember the hanging chads? Remember that Al Gore could have been our president? Every vote we cast might have immense consequences beyond our imaginings. One thing leads to another. People jumping from burning towers, decades of war, unspeakable destruction of our planet. We got there one step at a time.
I didn't especially want to go to my doctor's appointments or to the hospital during Covid-19. I wanted to walk through the pandemic the way I was taught to backpack in the Sierra. Leave no trace. But once I was in the hospital, I found that every single nurse, doctor, anesthesiologist was doing their own kind of leave-no-trace foray into the wilderness that is health care right now. Of course there were Covid screenings every step of the way, and of course everyone was masked and shielded to the max, but not one healthcare professional was even an iota less than kind, caring, cheerful, and patient. Once the mandatory screening was done, they behaved as if there was no extra risk for them that could get in the way of caring for me. I am grateful.
And I am afraid of the people who are none of those things. They are responsible for this moment where everyone has someone in harm's way.
Dear friends and family do everything you can to help one another. I promise to do the same. I love you with all of my heart--and with my kidneys (sans their tiny blasted-to-bits asteroids.)