The Troubling Dichotomy Of The Time We Live In

Last Friday I stubbed my little toe, (well it, and the one next it, as it turns out)  and now, they and that part of my foot, has turned a lovely purple/green colour and are very, very, sore … probably some cracked, if not broken, bones.

It’s funny isn’t it, that until we do even the smallest of damage to our appendages we don’t fully appreciate just how much we need ’em.

I’m not going to get my foot x-rayed, or go anywhere near our regional hospital at the moment. For one thing there’s nothing the medical establishment can do for my tootsies that, with a modicum of common sense, I can’t do for myself … and …a local outbreak of Covid-19 was traced back to the hospital and until they get a clean bill of health, I’m staying away.

In the early days of the known outbreak, I say ‘known’ because the more time goes by the more we learn that the virus was out in the world earlier than first thought. Current estimates have it hovering somewhere around December of last year.

What were you doing in December of 2019? I bet you weren’t social-distancing, or wearing a mask, or self-isolating if you felt a bit ‘flu-y’.

Anyway … In the early days of the known outbreak, I started keeping tabs on the global confirmed numbers registered on the John’s Hopkins website. In hindsight it was a way for me to make sense of the horrific tragedy that I knew was coming even back then. I check, every night, around midnight.

The first date was the 8th March – 103,369 confirmed cases, an increase of 3,923 from the day before. (those numbers seem almost like a fairytale now don’t they?)

From there it took 23 days to reach one million. Yesterday (Monday) the total was nine million, and only 7 days before it was eight million. The average infection rate, at the moment, is about 150,000. Per day. (the actual rate of infections is probably ten times those ‘official’ figures)

When you look out your window, does the world look normal to you?

The view from my desk is still of the Summer Tree, the green grass of our front yard, (which in this humid weather we’re having right now is growing like gangbusters, and isn’t going to get mowed any time soon – see above-mentioned broken toes), and the wee lad across the way who has progressed from trotting to a flat-out run-waddle.

The global climate crisis hasn’t gone away. Once things get back to ‘normal’, pollution, sea, and temperature, levels will continue to rise, and ecosystems will continue to experience catastrophic collapses.

I can walk out to the garden and pick strawberries that are sweet and juicy, and know that in a few weeks the blueberries too will be ripe for the picking, and we’ll go ‘hedge-harvesting for blackberries along our road (my toes better be all healed up by then!) after that.

Will we experience food shortages in Autumn and Winter? Not here, perhaps, but what about countries where people are already running drastically short of food, medicine, fresh water, etc?

This dichotomy troubles me. Not all the time, that way lies madness, and no-one can hold the enormity of what we, as a species, are facing, for long and stay sane.

It troubles me because there are times I don’t give a flying fuck about the enormity of what we are facing. All I want to do is nurse my broken toes, make something nice for dinner, read a book, write some words in my next story, and forget that anything else exists … but, thankfully those times don’t last very long either

Is this denial, grief?

We strive for balance in our lives, don’t we? Balance between things, whatever they may be, that are important to us. And yet on some level we know that that balance, once achieved, is fleeting. It never lasts, then we teeter off in another direction, perhaps far, perhaps not too far at all.

So, I teeter this way and that, and thus far, I haven’t stubbed my broken toes on anything else.


48 comments on “The Troubling Dichotomy Of The Time We Live In

  1. Lockdown is weird – but there is no vaccine, and the people who think the first wave is over are deluded.

    I am in a risky cohort – I can’t take chances. I just wish they would give me the few things here that made lockdown bearable – the pool is still not available to me.

    The political world is crazy. The health world is crazy. And nothing that was wrong with the world before that has been fixed. And now we finally are dealing with some of the racism – hope that doesn’t get swept under the rug again: we need to fix it, and the police brutality and lack of self monitoring.

    Seems each day is worse lately.

    But I’m writing – because there isn’t anything I can do in the real world. And I can’t spend my days in a tense knot – this may be another year.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Widdershins says:

      There’s nothing I can do out there either … I’m writing too, struggling to keep my mind where it needs to be and at the moment deleting almost as much as I’m creating, but forward movement is happening.
      It helps, and it’s what we can do.


      • I’m not needing to delete, but that probably because my process creates about 5-10 times as many words as I will eventually end up using in four different files of ideas a snippets – before I figure out HOW I’m going to write WHAT I plotted. Some of those are original, others are from the rough draft (95% of which, or more, is unusable), and others are things I’ve thought about before.

        My mind is fine creating the little pieces, answering prompts, and it helps immeasurably toward coming up with the new draft and polishing it.

        Slow, but so far effective.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jaye Marie says:

    I was under the illusion that our home was safe from the madness and imbalance, but this week we have joined the ranks of the confused and miserable. Anita has had a massive heart attack and struggling to recover. Suddenly, nothing else is important anymore…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. bone&silver says:

    Sorry to hear about the toe-are you taking Arnica? I assume you’ve splinted them together to keep them still?
    *sighs deeply
    And yes, the rest of your post resonates deeply; I am so despairing of the world, yet when the flocks of rainforest pigeons sweep by in the morning, I am in ecstasy… such swings of delight and depression 🙏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  4. quiall says:

    My sympathies for your appendages! I too am struggling. I am safe, fed, all my needs are being met. I grieve for those less fortunate. But that grief is a double edge sword. It can lead to madness. (There are those who say I am WAY too close!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Widdershins says:

      My appendages thank you. 🙂 …
      We can’t not live our lives, because someone is worse off than we are … although the whole culture of guilt, which is one of the pillars that western society is built upon, would say otherwise.
      I suspect the answer lies somewhere along the lines of choosing our battles, as usual. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Sue Vincent says:

    Balance is only achieved when we teeter both ways… it is never static. I am loving many aspects of lockdown, cursing others… then remembering all those who are suffering dreadfully from both lockdown and its cause. Perhaps that is where the point of balance lies… beyond ourselves.

    Hope the toes heal fast… they are so damnably awkward and painful when they have been splattered.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I sympathise with you over that toe. I did it once

    Liked by 1 person

  7. tidalscribe says:

    I tend to assume any country’s statistics are less than reality, though in the little cosy bubble of our end of the road and friends and family there are no cases. So sitting in the garden it would be easy to think nothing was happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The sanity of my world, in this house with the Husband and Missy Molly, keeps me from going unglued when I read about the increasing rate of COVID19, the attacks of the radical right wing (particularly within our institutions), and the newest gaslighting from our great pretender of a president. I’m positive enough about the future to commit to buying 10 pasture-raised chickens. A friend is harvesting five for us today, and tomorrow I’ll be butchering four of them into parts to freeze. Of course the thought of my world will end before I get to eat all 10 did flash through my mind. Normal, yup.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      The chickens is a great idea. 🙂 ‘normal’ or not. It all feels a bit like when you’re in a disaster the thing is to get your own safety gear on first, then, go help others.


  9. Suzanne says:

    I hope your toes heal quickly. It sounds awful though I can understand you not wanting to go to hospital. I feel the same way. I like your thoughts on what is hsppening in the larger world. The economic fallout and the threat of food shortages is frightening. Over here in Oz panic buying has started up again because more Covid cases are being diagnosed in Victoria. People are easily spooked at present.
    Yet, like you, when I look out my window all is quiet. Something to be thankful for I guess. Passing the days is strange. I’m writing sentences that have no endings, doing some slow stitching that doesn’t have an end goal… I realised I misunderstood what bearing witness means – I thought it was just passively watching then learnt it means watching to form meanings – not that I’ve found any other than the growing oonviction this is the big change – the shift of the ages – and that it has a long way to play out yet. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Olga Godim says:

    Hopefully, your toes heal soon.
    I must be in the minority here, on the West Coast of Canada. I don’t watch news, except for the occasional pandemic update in my province. The news are so bad all around, they plunge me into depression, so I avoid them. Besides, I have my personal health problems at the moment, serious enough to drive all the global calamities out of my mind.
    It seems we live in interesting times, alas. You remember that Chinese curse, don’t you? “Wishing you live in interesting times.” It’s a potent curse, as we all can attest now.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wishing your toes rapid healing, Widdershins. And wishing every other part of you a sense of balance, even if it teeters. I go through the same phases. I suppose we all do.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. TanGental says:

    Toes huh? If you need evidence that evolution sucks and intelligent design isnt that clever its our toes. As babies we can suck our feet so why have we evolved to grow away from our feet. You’d suck your thumb if you’d stubbed it and that magic gobble would have worked its magic. Not your toes. Which proves growing up is overrated. Before growing up was introduced by an unthinking patriarchy, we had as much sleep as we liked, a constant buffet and if i screamed someone stuffed a nipple in my mouth. What’s not to like?
    Anyway I’ve grown up and the queue of willing nipple providers has reduced somewhat so I’ll focus my screams on egregious politicians and the man at no 17 who wont cut the shrub that hangs over the pavement and forces me into the road if i want to social distance.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I think we need the balance or your right, we’d be blighted with despair and unable to function. We can each do our part by caring for others – distancing, wearing masks, and reaching out with kindness. I hope your toe recovers soon too! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Widdershins says:

      I’m contemplating wearing shoes this afternoon. A shopping trip is required and I suspect bare feet won’t cut it. I think I’ll be fine so long as I’m careful.
      The trick is, I think, that when we shift off that point of balance, is to do our damnedest not to stray too far.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Firstly well done for not stunning your hurt toes on anything else – it seems to me that some sort of Murphy’s law exists where if something is hurt then thou shalt bang it on everything just to ensure you know that it is indeed hurting. As for the pandemic and general state of the world and (particularly in some countries) the desperate plight of people – I think as you say – we cannot hope to stay in a state of constant awareness that is larger than what we personally can handle and probably shouldn’t because as you say – that way lies madness. I don’t know what is coming next and I’m not sure I want to know anymore. I think I will concentrate deeply on the extent of my reach and try and improve the circumstances within that – I hope everyone else does the same and in that way we all benefit from an improved world state of mind. But I’m not holding my breath. Hope your toes come good soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      Toes are doing well 😀 …
      Taking care of ourselves is the most important thing right now, because everything else is in turmoil. We will settle into a new place of familiarity, at some point, just not anytime soon. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  15. acflory says:

    Damn. So sorry about your toes, Widds. Can you bind them or splint them or..something?? Thank god it’s not cold. Actually, thank god you can get away with not going in to the hospital. I think we all see hospitals as bad places to be at the moment. Some of the first people who died of Covid-19 here in Melbourne were patients in an oncology clinic. 😦

    The only way I can strike a balance is to shut the world out periodically. Otherwise it just gets too overwhelming. Anyway, take care of those toes and eat a strawberry for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Very sorry to hear about the toes, and I completely agree with the weird seesaw feeling. I’ve been fighting that myself. It’s a challenge and a triumph just to get up and get through the day’s work. Hold on, hold tight, and heal as gently as possible. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Widdershins says:

      Hey, Leona!!! How are you? 😀
      Toes are healing nicely 🙂 and putting shoes back on, even for a short while, feels really weird! 🙂
      I spent a bit of time this morning having a squizz at your bookstore. What a great place! … and I was sorry to hear it’s ending. Covid-19 takes no prisoners. 😦


  17. […] a bitter pill. One that I still joust with on occasions … but then what’s life without a few […]


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