2020 Notes 1

Fair Oaks Park, February

February was warm and bright, and I got out regularly to walk the dogs in the local park. It was the finest early spring I could remember, although it struck me that the only other place I’ve experienced such warmth so early in the year was Phoenix, and that suggests a hot summer.

By early February, or certainly mid-month, everyone who was paying attention knew the corona virus was coming, and it was going to be serious. I certainly didn’t anticipate the force of the shock when it hit our shores, but during those sunny walks, I had the sense that this was going to change our world in profound ways. I think lots of people, over the last few years have understood on some level that we’ve been living in a house of cards. I suspect that much of the fear and anger that fill the air derives from this understanding, even if we didn’t quite grasp it consciously.

I thought of what I have read of the prelude to another world changing event. By all accounts, the spring and early summer of 1914 in Europe were the most beautiful that anyone then living could remember. One of the best histories of that period is The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman.

Tuchman wrote another fascinating history of another period that changed the arc of world civilization, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Fourteenth century Europe was ravaged by climate change, never-ending war, and pandemic which triggered the collapse of medieval culture. I am not making this up!

The century opened with two decades of cold, now known as “the little ice age,” which caused widespread famine. The “Hundred Years War,” continued through the century, and in several outbreaks, bubonic plague killed a third of the world’s population.

At this moment, 20 years into the new millennium, no one knows how this century will end beyond the absolute certainty that the way of life we have known will be but a memory.


Yesterday afternoon, Mary and I left home on the important mission of picking up her birthday cake (it’s tomorrow) at Baskin Robbins and having some ice cream while we were at it. I had to laugh when I heard “Love Me Two Times,” on the audio track. The Doors were way too subversive when to play in an ice cream shop when they first hit the airwaves more than 50 years ago!

But who knows? I have no idea when I’ll next be able to get a haircut, so my true colors as an aging hippie may soon be revealed!

4 thoughts on “2020 Notes 1

  1. Keep safe — and you’re wise to avoid all contact with pudding bowls: keep your distance! I’ve resisted the look for many years by shaving it all off my pate, apart from my face…


  2. Haha, I was only thinking about haircuts the other day, what’ll happen in time etc. Who knows. Who cares.
    Always good to hear The Doors, though.
    I was catching up on a bit of Velvet Underground the other week, and was so disappointed hearing them again. Apart from a few tracks they sound like amateurs next to what The Doors were doing at the same time.
    And Happy Birthday, Mary!


  3. I haven’t left my house for over 8 days now except for two trips to the mailbox and a couple walks in the back yard with my little dog, Mason. I have had more fun than this. I was just wishing yesterday that I had scheduled a hair appointment before the lockdown, but now I will have to wait, I suspect, for at least a month. I imagine the hippie hair will be a good look on you, Morgan. We live in interesting times. As Mr. Dylan said, the times they are achangin’. Take good care and stay well. Please wish Mary a happy birthday from me.


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