Paper Clips: March 2021


by Elaine Corrington

A Whole Year of the Ides of March…
After a few weeks at the beginning of 2020 of increasingly sad stories of people from different areas of the earth being infected by what turned out to be a new virus, it was becoming clear that things were getting worse and worse in numbers and affected territories.
It had not yet really hit most of us personally, but we were paying a little closer attention to the media. What the heck WAS this? Let’s wash our hands more. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze. Don’t we have a cure or a treatment plan in case somebody travels outside our area and gets it?
We were not really thinking about changing school, work, family, social, holiday, health, shopping, covering up at least 50% of our face, cleaning a lot more, even though everything looks ok, and community improvement plans. We were thinking “Well, if I don’t feel well, I will just stay home a couple of days and get better- and then I won’t get it again…like the flu or a cold.”
You might have even heard someone say in line at the store that they might pretend to have it for a few days planned around a weekend for a little mini-vacation. On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) presented the first major world-wide media awakening to COVID, although the severity had not been determined fully. Without much information or analysis about what would become the most extensive and powerfully potent pandemic of any of our lifetimes began, we were slowly becoming accepting that we were going to have to BE(a)WARE, each and every one of us, for ourselves and for everybody else.
By March 15, “The Ides of March,” most of us were trying to fathom how much we would have to change our lives to have a chance of survival. It was new. Not everybody chose to believe that it was real, growing, spreading, gaining potency- and that we were responsible for doing our part to help control the spread and treat the victims. We were no longer on the outside looking in.
“The Ides of March” was originally just a time divider for our planet. It occurred between the March 13 and March 15, and it marked the first full moon of the month. Although month names and timing were not shared by everyone, full moons were. “The Ides of March” was eventually when the New Year was shared, celebrated and rejoiced. It was also when debts were to be paid- another thing to celebrate if you could meet that deadline!
When Shakespeare wrote “Julius Caesar,” his characters’ death on the Ides of March was used to warn everyone that it was a time you could confront death and destruction. “Beware the Ides of March!”
Many years later, even Homer Simpson had to fight that earthly peril.
Now we are facing “The Ides of March” again, and so much has happened. The fear of no vaccine was replaced by the fear of taking a vaccine that was developed “too fast” to be considered safe- much, much faster than effective vaccines previously. Many people find vaccines of any kind unacceptable- and their friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers may feel threatened about the increased danger they may be to themselves and others if they do not take it when it is available to them. Politics, holidays, health care realities, and distribution needs have affected abilities to control the effects of the pandemic.
Every part of life on the planet, in your country, in your hometown, in work and schools, in acquiring what is needed, in having peace, happiness, learning, joy, humor, and confidence; is affected by this pandemic. Some things will be “controlled”, some things will be “solved”, and some things will just “never be the same.”
“The Ides of March” are here again, leading us to wonder, “one year from now—in 2022– where will we be?
It is good to know that vaccines and health and lifestyle interventions are faster to share now. It is good to know that many people are working for the protection of us all in ways big and small. It is good to demand sharing information and providing care for all who will take it. And it is good to take a look at yourself and think about any choices you need to make and get support you may need.
And don’t forget: humor, friends, and perhaps chocolate are well-known to cure “The Ides of March,” if not the virus itself.
Or that might just be me…but I don’t think so.