I received an email today that featured a photograph of empty baby carriages and strollers lined up at the train station in Poland placed there for Ukrainian refugee mothers arriving with infants in their arms. It broke me open, and I wept.

With the Ashes, Peace 3/7/22

I cannot leave a baby stroller at the train station

for Ukrainian mothers fleeing to Poland

I cannot open my nursing home here in Ohio to house them

I cannot feed the millions of refugees

hold their hands to

absorb their shock and devastation

I can leave hope on the tracks

for my own baby grandchildren

to carry forward into their lives

open my heart to bear witness

to bloodshed and violence

feed peace into the turmoil

of my own war-torn mind

I can only absorb my shock and devastation

from the chaotic world we share

from losing the country I thought I safely lived in

And with the ashes of our world

intentionally cultivate peace. Peace. Peace.

We live here in our time, in this world. We each bring what we can, where we can, as best we can, every day. For this I am grateful. That I live in a community where I am safe and valued and cared for is a gift I do not take for granted. We move on and need our lives to reflect our commitment to living as fully and as engaged a life as we can. I am astounded every day at the life stories and talents my fellow residents bring.

As a community, Kendal has been changed by the long adaptation to the pandemic. We are less interconnected through community gatherings. Although we are now able to meet in public spaces and eat together without masks or the mandatory six feet distancing, there are many among us who are fragile and feel that it is still not wise to mingle so freely. There has been a tendency to stay home in cottages, apartments, or rooms rather than attend newly sponsored lectures or concerts in the auditorium. Now that many presentations are videoed and played directly on our internal TV channel or zoomed, people often choose to stay and watch in the comfort of their own dwellings.

We are healthy and aware of these choices and we are proud of our resilience. The Audio visual teams work very hard to bring programs to us all in this new format. Sometimes they are hybrid shows-performers have the satisfaction of smaller live audiences while many watch the same show on their TV. The next annual celebration at Kendal is called Spring Fling, and the theme this year is Dance! I wrote a very silly spoof of a waltz to the tune of Daisy, Daisy, an old favorite. I include a video that the waltz- meister taped of me and my piano player Betsy while the AV group was filming us for the event. He will have three couples waltzing in a line dance to my song and the tape will eventually have cuts of me and Betsy and the dancers sliced together to create a whole piece. I gather the women will dance on oblivious to the increasing frustration of their partners as the verses indicate. I was wearing a mic and my voice will hopefully be much more clear and articulate than what my friend’s phone picked up in this clip. I include the lyrics here and it will give you a taste of life here as we approach the inevitability of spring.

Berserker’s Waltz for Spring Fling 2022 (to the tune of Daisy, Daisy)

Waltzing out winter, here at our Spring Fling.

I’d love to understand you, more than anything

The mumbles behind your mask,

make it hard to ask

Our hearts seem to click, so please tell me quick

The results of your last testing.

Darling partner, give me your answer true

Do you have Omicron or happen to have the flu?

Behind your mask is the answer

I love that you’re a good dancer

At six feet apart, you’ve still got my heart

But you just won’t give me a clue.

Darling partner, perhaps this just won’t work

I wish we could be closer, but I don’t want to be a jerk

What should happen next?

Maybe I should just text?

Call me lazy or maybe half crazy

It’s enough to go berserk.

2 thoughts on “Living Here

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