Lately I have found it somewhat difficult to make decisions, concentrate on a book, compose a simple message, do my laundry, answer the phone, and despite a myriad of available subjects, to complete the task at hand. There is an underlying anxiety, uncommon and certainly unwanted. I know I am quite capable of doing all that there is to be done. Yet an odd paralysis, combined with diminished enthusiasm, seems to hover over everything, like a post pandemic dust.
There is a welcome wave of optimism, which should be cause for celebration. Then why is it tinged with mixed emotions? We’ve been living behind a mask, and perhaps we have gone inward. The city is reopening, and with it, an unnatural intensity, renewed responsibilities, an abrupt return to heavy traffic, crowded streets, shouting revelers, discarded masks and cavalier debris.
As I write this, I sense that some of us may feel a strange reluctance to let go of our pandemically enforced existence. Yet I also believe this trepidation will not last, and we will recover our energy, join the multitude and get back to work. Perhaps a little unsteady, but we will regain our footing, applying what we have gleaned- including new priorities, disciplines, and a warranted concern for the health of all.
This morning, considering these things, I watched a video of REM live at the Glastonbury Festival. I came upon it accidentally, but it offered an unexpected unlocking of a padlock I hardly knew existed. Michael Stipe is a dear friend, but I watched him, not as a friend, but as a force. The song seems to address the transient loss of a personal equation and the necessity to retreat to stitch back the remnants.
Michael once said that Losing My Religion is a song about unrequited love, the residue of a devastating crush. Having been in lockdown so long we find we have had an agonizing a crush on life and are waiting for some commiserative signal.
Listening to R.E.M., watching Michael perform, I felt a rekindling of enthusiasm, a desire to be in a sweaty tee-shirt before my own microphone with the happy mission of mass connection. Thank you for reading this. I am going now, to call who should be called, finish the poem I abandoned, do my laundry, and be grateful, to step lively into our somewhat broken world, pocketing a few tools to help it get back on the mend.