This morning I’m with the words of John Donne written 400 years ago when he was ill in 1623.
No man is an island,
entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were.
as well as if a manor of thy friend’s
or of thine own were.
Any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind;
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.
Since we’re isolated in our home because of our age, our neighbor leaves gifts of food on our fence. Today is strawberries from the Farmer’s Market, the most beautiful strawberries ever seen. They are bright red and juicy. I think of all that is involved in getting them to me, and then there is the thoughtful wrapping of placing them in a bag, and tying the bag to our fence, so we can go outside and retrieve. Each berry, the greatest gift, and then, there is this time of isolation, each moment, a church, temple, mosque, monument, tree, all nourished in fluidity.
I felt a shift in my being when I read about the Italian family in New Jersey who loved to gather and feast. The matriarch was a regular at church, and yet now not only has she died from the virus but her oldest son and daughter have passed away too. Four of her children are hospitalized; three are in critical condition.
I don’t know where to put this other than to open and open and open. How much can I embrace, embrace and release, an island in the sea?