Shifting Soils

The third-of-a-moon was sailing westward toward her morning sleep over Little Mountain, just as the dawn was cracking the blackness of night open for another day. I couldn’t help thinking about all who have written poetic lines about the moon over the millennia, praising her from her beauty to her mystical significance. Over and over again, millions of times, she has traced her routes through the sky—but this time was different.

Everything shifts when someone you love slips into the Eternal Now. Nothing is quite the same. My mother-in-law was one I learned to love deeply over the decades I have been married to her daughter. She was of very different persuasions on a number of issues—all of which seem somehow rather unimportant now. Suffice it to know that she knew we loved her and we knew she loved us. The world shifts and turns. Our world’s soil has shifted.

COVID-19 is shifting our social soil. I dropped off dry-cleaning this morning and the little Pilipino proprietor sadly told her I was only her fourth customer today. She is normally bustling around, attending to this and that, but not today. On the way out the door she thanked me for my business—not a standard sort of line, but heartfelt, as if to say, “Thank you that at least you have come to be with me, even for a moment.” We are all wary of contact, and yet we yearn for it as human beings.

It’s nice to know that the moon will continue her journey even though my mother-in-law has passed. It’s nice to know that relationships endure during a pandemic. It’s nice to know there’s bedrock beneath the shifting soils.

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