“Hmm…” was the clue for 6-Across in a recent L.A. Times Sunday crossword puzzle. 6-Across had seven squares, so I filled in “IWONDER.” Which sent me down a rabbit hole of several things I’ve been wondering about lately, in this time of pandemic and quarantine.
I wonder if the companies that make the brass fittings for coffins are now considered “essential businesses.”
Will face masks become the next fashion accessory? And how will deaf people “hear” if they can’t lip-read?
Have I ever before felt such waves of gratitude for the checkout clerks, the local organic farmers, the team that collects my trash at 6:30 every Wednesday morning? Do I promise now never to forget how much I love them?
Are the underwater creatures in the Pacific Ocean aware of the human chaos on the land? Would they like to help us if they could?
I wonder if Zoom will replace all committee meetings, blind dates, and family reunions from now on?
Are the hummingbirds that peer in the kitchen window impressed by how carefully we’re sanitizing our surfaces and our foods?
How many of the dozens of breathtaking daily headlines will end up being just statistical footnotes by next year?
I wonder about journalists’ duty as historians – and I’m thinking about true journalism vs social media. Journalists have a duty to discover and collect the details, to fact check and record the news accurately and clearly. But I wonder: does that professional duty extend to actually publishing and airing all those details, especially every incendiary, ill-advised political rant or armed-mob chant?
I think often about medical triage, about the painful ethical decisions coming in such overwhelming numbers for healthcare workers that each choice can’t possibly be given the thoughtful consideration it needs. Will these decisions haunt medical staff for the rest of their lives? How long a life are our front-line caregivers likely to have, given their repeated exposure to the menace of coronavirus?
And how is it possible that spring is happening despite the headlines? How can it be joyfully bursting forth from the soil of the tulip fields in the Skagit Valley, from the tips of maple branches, from the nests of finches, from window boxes and roadside ditches – how can that possibly be?
So these days I occupy my brain with these little wonderings, because my mind just can’t comprehend the huge reality of this new worldwide plague, and of a madman presiding over 55,000 Americans dead of Covid-19 in the past three months.
By the way, the correct answer to the “Hmm…” crossword puzzle clue was “LETSSEE.” Let’s see, indeed, what the rest of 2020 holds for us.
I wonder . . .
May you be well through all of this trying year.