Paper Clips: August 2021


by Elaine Corrington

Viruses, Climate Change and Me…
I’m Old- But I’m Not THAT Old! And I’m Younger Than I Will Be Tomorrow.
By Elaine Corrington
August 2021

If you see a still tall white-haired woman walking around Hurleyville, enjoying all this small town has to offer, it could be me. Everything from gorgeous views, wonderful entertainment options, desserts, exercise heaven Rail Trail, work I love, and everything I NEED from food to toilet paper is within a short walk. In earlier decades, I thought a lot about wishing I had been born later so that I could enjoy it all and enjoy the people, the changing work options in a field I have always loved, the community projects, and the joys life has brought me for more time. After all, I have only been in Sullivan County for a little over 25 years! In the last two years, I have become totally appreciative of the years I have been alive– and aware that I have made wise choices that I knew were right for me (even when others were telling me I was making the wrong choices–the fools). I love being in Hurleyville in my later years.
My choices were good for my interests, skills, and joy. I appreciated that other people had choices that were important to them, and that I respected, and to me they were not primary, but I appreciated the importance of them. Now I can increasingly appreciate the need for a united effort to undo some of the damage caused over the years as our planet becomes less able to provide for its own needs.
The health of the many natural earthly “foods” necessary for life on the earth is suffering from Climate Change. The thousands of years of increasing and migrating populations of people and animals, increasing creation of welcome energies to support physical comfort and fun, and the increasing population density make life harder to support.
The rainy days this summer have reminded me of the rainy winters in the San Francisco Bay Area when I was a kid. There are choices to be made for supporting these grave problems– some you can make either publically or personally with like-minded people. And, now we have the juxtaposition of a pandemic that also threatens the population of the planet.
Early pandemics could not travel as far as they can now. Fewer people, birds, and animals populating far less territory could limit the spread of a virus to a family, or a territory, or even a continent. You got sick or you didn’t– and there were fewer opportunities for a virus to be carried forward.
The oldest record of a virus that I could find was smallpox, described in the year 910, and it was eradicated when a powerful leader saved his family by making a treatment from dry pox skin cells with which to expose his family members in the year 1000. How did he know what to do? World-wide eradication was reported in 1977, due mainly to vaccination efforts. But there are those who worry about the leftover smallpox virus being “safely” stored in case it is needed again. Measles, mumps, polio, chicken pox, diphtheria, meningitis, etc., all harmed people I knew in my lifetime. There are several dozen viral inoculations that are recommended for people in early years and at various points in life. They can help keep many more people safe, even if not 100% effective. They are effective and less harmful than the diseases they are intended to eliminate. Still, some choose life not as protected as it could be, even now.
Political, economic, social education, and protective global cooperation and mobilizations are needed to create the opportunity that I wish for everyone to have so that they can look back on their life in the future and feel very, very lucky to have lived when they lived and to have the kind of joyful memories I am now experiencing.
Right here in Hurleyville.