Thanksgiving Solitude in a Covid World

Living the life of a hermit pretty much for the last two years, facing Thanksgiving, and probably Christmas too, it is pretty rough this year. I’m just adding it to my list things to work on for my spiritual practice. I have a lot of solitude, which, in my old age, I relish. But, I’m more of an “urban erudite,” not a die hard, and require a balance, especially when it comes to family.

Saturday I chose to not attend my daughter’s Amy family’s Thanksgiving dinner because of the Covid-19 pandemic and its raging out of control. She lives just down at the other end of the block, a short walk or bicycle ride. I baked a pecan pie, from my own pecans, and made a big salad from my garden to share, and took them down prior to their scheduled meal. It was really hard pedaling back home and leaving my 17 month old granddaughter, who was in a granddaddy-playing mood. Sometimes she’s not. Amy brought me down a big leftover plate from their meal later that night. It was delicious.

Given my age and medical history I do what I reasonably can to minimize my chances of being exposed to Covid. I believe the SCIENCE, and what it is telling us about this virus and the pandemic. We, all of us, are in a serious crisis on this thing. The pandemic is raging out of control, and too many people or not heeding the science, the warnings, and taking appropriate precautions. There are a lot of really stupid people out there, not wearing masks, not social distancing, probably not washing their hands sufficiently, etc. They are more than willing to share their “love” (covid virus) should they be asymptomatic–or probably even if they are symptomatic. What do they care? It is not their problem. It is yours. It is their right not to wear a mask, etc. Their collateral damage extends to a lot of innocents, vulnerable, and people who may be trying to take appropriate precautions.

Again, I am a strong believer in NATURAL SELECTION, having worked with it throughout my research career. I applaud the idiots going over the cliff like lemmings. Go to it! Take your leap! Just don’t take me, those I care about, or innocents with you, you ass!

I’m writing rather cavalier about how I am handling this isolation from my family. It is really hard at times. Too much solitude is unhealthy. Again, balance. As I face Thanksgiving Day alone, here at home with my two dogs, Lacy and Morgan, it is just not the same as celebrating with my family. I really miss that. As I look onward to Christmas, that even brings on more sadness.

Christmas 2017 I had to spend the whole holiday in Texas with my brother and away from my family. My mother had just died, and after her funeral I stayed a couple of weeks working with my brother to close down the estate, of which the lion’s share was going to fall to him as he lived there with them, and I lived a thousand miles away in SC. My brother and I don’t get along very well. By the end of that two-plus weeks, which included Christmas and New Year, and with all the estate conflicts that came up, it is a wonder we hadn’t done each other in. We are just now, three years later, getting back to occasional speaking terms.

I try to roll all of this into my spiritual practice, reminding myself of its impermanence, to practice mindfulness, non-attachement, my sittings (zazen), and carry on. Letting the emotions of sadness and loneliness come and go as they will as I get on with my life and attend to my day.

Gassho

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Cindy

    Hi Dr Yardley! I was a student of yours back in the day. It’s good to see you on here regardless of the circumstances. I lost my husband to cancer 5 years ago. I understand what you are feeling re covid and the holidays. I still have my dad, 89.

    1. Darrell Yardley

      Hi, Cindy. Great to hear from you. Sorry to hear about your husband. Stay well.

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