On most Sunday mornings, I watch (or record and watch later) CBS Sunday Morning. My favorite parts are hearing the trumpets sound and the variations of the iconic sun logo throughout the show.
This morning (Easter Sunday), I was reminded yet again of despite this time of disruption, the sun has never ceased to rise and set each day. For Christians, like myself, today is special because it is a celebration of the son, Jesus Christ, and the finding of his tomb empty, his body resurrected, and eventual ascent to heaven.
For my Jewish friends, today is a celebration of Passover.
Over the past month, we have experienced a time of disruption unlike any in modern history. For most of us, it has required that we stay at home. For others, who are deemed essential – healthcare workers, first-responders, grocery workers, utility workers, and others – it has been business as usual despite the uncertainty of times.
For some of us (including myself), I have the luxury of working from home. Those who know me know I love being on the road, visiting communities, working on collaborative projects, and, yes, eating at the many local restaurants across Appalachia Kentucky. I’ve worked long hours and many nights and weekends trying to do my part to help our communities. It isn’t much compared to what others are contributing, but we are doing our part to help small businesses, sharing the stories of those adapting and adjusting to this time, highlighting the countless others stepping up and stepping our during the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing resources and information for all those impacted during this disruption – businesses, employees (especially those who have been laid off), resources for parents and guardians turned teachers, tools for e-learning, and a variety of resources to provide awareness for our mental health and well-being.
When I am not on a Zoom call, I wear a pair of Bluetooth headphones my wife gifted me a few years ago. She bought them as I was in the middle of my graduate school studies, and she was probably tired of hearing my random music playlists while studying – everything from Bluegrass, gospel, classic rock, study and meditation instrumentals, jazz, and blues.
Here lately, I have simply played the sounds of nature. Weird? Well, before COVID-19, probably so.
What I have found in the past month is something I was reminded this morning during a segment on CBS Sunday Morning on how to enjoy our National Parks online. It is a quote from the late author, John Muir: “The mountains are calling, and I must go.”
Another quote from Author Wendell Berry that I have admired – and over the past few years have watched become so evident in my life is “To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope for survival.”
As each day passes and the mountains around us come to life each Spring and slip away and hunker down during Fall and Winter, I am reminded that this time, although unprecedented, is only temporary.
While we may be separated by social distancing and some of us may be distanced by beliefs and opinions, there are lessons to be learned in the toughest of times. In times of various degrees of separation, there are equally various degrees of unity, through our faith, through our love, and through these mountains that connect us from Harlan to Hode, Ashland to Ashcamp, and Morehead to McKee.
The lesson for me is that the mountains around me are not always mountains that need to be moved. They can – and will – stand by me.
Trying to figure out how to close this entry was difficult. Then I thought about a former colleague, the late Dr. Bill Loftus. The popular psychology professor would often say, wearing his sport coat and white tennis shoes, “We are all just walking each other home.”