Rural Luck, Privilege Guilt

Another day and I wake up early to make coffee. After skimming some news and Twitter about what happened after I went to sleep, I get dressed and unlock the front door to hear the birds singing and feel the morning early spring sun. Alqo and I always go to the monte in the morning and today is no different. But it is.

We are under lockdown, quarantine, social distance, whatever word comes out first. I haven’t been to town since Thursday or really interacted with anyone besides Patricia, aside from the morning mobile panadería or bombona delivery guy. The reality of the last four or five days hasn’t changed drastically for us. We’re not in Madrid, where we are isolated to an apartment without a small patch of yard, where we are densely populated, where the mortality rate doubles in 24 hours. And for this I feel lucky and guilty.

I feel lucky that all the experiences I’ve had led me to my interest in distancing myself from urban centers anyway, to be closer to nature, for a simpler, quiet life. I feel lucky for having found a partner in the strangest of places who shares my values, who I’ve watched grow and who has watched me grow, to the people we are now. I feel lucky to have Alqo to stretch out and pass gas at silly times when we feel overwhelmed by the news of places much more dire.

But I feel guilty for that privilege of mobility, of freedom, of having a remote job that for the time being, I still have. I feel guilty that I can’t be there for my family in California and I’m reduced to sending borderline hysterical warnings and preparation advice to my parents. I feel guilty for being closer to the catastrophe for practically untouched by it as of writing this.

This is the beginning long period of uncertainty. I bristle when I hear of people not taking decisive action now to socially distance themselves, choosing fun over preparedness. But perhaps I would think differently; if I lived in a city, if my friends were all within close proximity, if my loved ones were pressuring me for being ridiculous. All of this could be so different.

Either way, I’m lucky and guilty. To assuage that, I want to activate the things I’ve been thinking and talking about for so long.

  • My theosophical views give me comfort in that whatever happens, this is not the end, and as God says in the Qur’ān that we must change the condition of our souls before our material is changed, and to bring about a new positive life for all humanity, we must find each other, and call to give each other our very best.
  • Our new normal demands new ways of living, new frameworks to allow us and our earth to survive and thrive. We are at a crossroads. We have been here before and we will be again. But how we respond collectively; politically, socially, economically matters. This is only a time for physical isolation but not to close ourselves off and erect barriers, real or imagined.

I don’t have power or capital, here in Spain nor back in America. But I have a blog, some silly words, a brain, and a deep empathy and solidarity for things far outside myself, my family, and my surroundings. So, I’ll continue in the only way I can. Sharing things here, calling friends, writing, reading, and learning. These are still early days. Thanks for reading and please, if you can, stay the fuck home.

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