They say Think Globally, Act Locally. And there’s no more local than el Comparimento during this virus lock down. The news of the outside world, whether it’s our city of Valencia, greater Spain, or the wider world couldn’t be sadder or more depressing. But on this episode we are going to focus on gratitude. Because within these four walls there is much to be grateful for.
Coziness ~ We’ve spent nearly two weeks together locked in this space. Its the smallest place we’ve ever lived in. And that was by design. I like small spaces. Our old houses were all big and I never felt as comfortable in them as I did in my old studio apartment in Pacific Heights in San Francisco in my 20’s. And it’s not just looking back with rose colored glasses. I knew how great I felt, even back then, and I longed for that feeling again while rambling around a 3 story house on acreage in the mountains east of Seattle. I did love the nature that surrounded us there. But the size of the house always unnerved me. It never felt cozy like my little apartment did back in the day. I have that feeling now.
Stillness ~ I”m lucky Jeff is a quiet person. He has his own interests and pursuits. And he’s spending time pursuing those in the office. Building a sail boat, learning guitar, playing online games with a friend in Portland. And this leaves me plenty of time to sit quietly and enjoy the stillness of the city. Spain is a noisy place on normal days. But now – weeks into our confinement – our neighbors are silent more and more. A weight has fallen over the city that keeps the volume turned down. And I find it’s made room for quiet reflection – which I never seem to get.
Slowing Down ~ I have the time to do the things I always say I don’t have the time for. A daily meditation practice. Writing even more. Keeping in touch with friends and family on a daily basis. Just checking in. The drive and the pace of our lives has changed so dramatically,, so quickly. The first week it was all kinetic energy. I was vibrating with the doing of nothing. Now I find I’m enjoying it. The weather here in Valencia is what I call Lock down Grey and it means none of us would want to go out anyway in the rain and wind. It should be a new Crayola color in the crayon box.
Seeing Neighbors ~ In Valencia, most people keep their window shutters firmly shut. At night, seeing into other people’s flats isn’t possible. From here they have always appeared dark and that no one could be home. People in the cities of Spain live on the street, in cafes. It’s why there are so many of them. But now, everyone has their shutters open. They’re bringing the outside in and living on their balcony’s. At night, all the curtains are open and not just for the nightly clapping, flashlight waving, and pan banging. We can see that everyone in the city is home. It makes for a more visual community and it somehow brings comfort to me. We are not alone.
Technology ~ There are so many way to keep connected to family and friends. If this had happened even 15 years ago, we would be adrift on a raft over here in Spain – far from those we love back home. Now we can Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, HouseParty. We can see each other and virtually spend time together. It’s better than Better Than Nothing. It’s wonderful.
Pandemic Partner ~ I’m wildly grateful for my pandemic partner. The person who has adjusted better than anyone I know. He’s always calm in a storm and he’s even more calm now. He’s been a rock through the ups and downs of my personal adjustment to this situation. The small irritations of life, especially in the beginning of this situation, are gone. If I didn’t know it before, I know now that he’s who I’d want to spend the end of the world with.
Those on the Outside ~ We watch the world go by from our window. Life does go on for some. The garbage crews are still working, sweeping the streets by hand, and by truck. Our garbage and recycling pick up services are still running to make sure that those of us locked up can dispose of the left overs. There are people out there who are enabling the people in here. I’m grateful for them. As well as the Doctors, Nurses, Healthcare workers, Police, army, grocery store clerks and Pharmacist who are staying in these vital roles. We would be lost without them.
More Technology That Packs a Punch ~ Finally, I’m grateful for these folks. Gamers and Developers. The University of Washington developed games in the last decade to solve impossible medical problems they have been working on for decades and doing it in record time – like a week instead of 10 years. And by giving that out to protein- folding gamers, they can crowd source the solutions faster than ever before. This one is called FoldIt and it’s to find a protein that binds with the spike protein in Covid-19 before it attaches to the lungs. This is key to developing anti-viral therapies and drugs that will save lives.
“It would be a dream to be the one (or the group) who contributed to save humanity.”BRUNO KESTEMONT
Folding@Home is another group of people across the globe who are lending their spare commuting power to finding a cure. We, here in el Comparimento, are participating in this group with nearly all our machines to help boost computing power to crunch all the data required to find a vaccine; but also inti-viral treatments for those in the throws of it.
It’s easy to get bogged down in what we can’t do – but after we use the quiet spaces to sit for awhile and contemplate things, it’s time to get up and look for a way to use our resources as individuals – both big and small – to be part of the solutions that so many are working to find. I knew if I sat and thought for just a moment – there is so much to be grateful for, if I just stopped to look. 🙏 As always – Stay safe, Stay sane, Stay connected and Stay inside. Peace.