Today Will Not Be Here Tomorrow

Meanwhile, someplace in the world, somebody is making love and another a poem.”

From Figuring by Maria Popova

Periwinkles, ducks, and clouds. Hood River waterfront on 3/20/20.

I fed hummingbirds all winter. Each time I thought they had departed for a warmer climate, they would appear and take a big slurp from the feeder. 

I received two petunia plants in September. They continue to flower. I did not tend them. Still, they survived outside, in northern Oregon, on relative humidity and indirect light. 

This is unusual.

In late January, following our return from a Christmas vacation in California, the first news of the coronavirus came from China. The world scoffed aloud, “Hmph.” Now, barely two months later, it stammers a collective, “WTF?” The upheaval is astounding.

The Columbia River looking west from The Hook in Hood River, OR. 3/20/20

Worldwide, half a million people are infected with the virus. More than 25,000 have died. The travel industry needs a ventilator to breathe. Cruise ships are floating petri dishes. Professional and amateur sports suffer in an induced coma. Many states have closed schools. Shortages exist for supplies of hygiene and healthcare related products. Restaurants across much of the USA shutter their doors in adherence to social distancing. Mayors and governors issue sheltering in place edicts. Bustling downtowns look deserted. The stock market plummeted to record lows, millions are suddenly unemployed, and everyone with a 401k is hyperventilating.

My ukulele-a Mike Pereira “Cali” Baritone.

To the rescue, the federal government …? Wow, where to begin? The kindest thing I can say is that our president’s leadership has been sub-optimal. Evidence of the country’s unpreparedness is matched in degree only by the administration’s improvised responses that, thus far, promise but don’t deliver. Congress, prone to partisan dithering, slogs along. Emergency relief is imminent, albeit late. More will be necessary.

Are we all going to die? No. But, it’s possible someone we know will. Better leadership and foresight could have minimized the number.

I belong to one of the high risk groups. I am older. And, I have a suppressed immune system due to my cancer, multiple myeloma. Fortunately, I am a home body by nature. Social isolation is not a personal hardship. I read, I write, and I play my ukulele.

I am 12 years out from diagnosis. Like those petunias in my front yard, I exist on the indirect light of my good luck. My anxiety about the Covid-19 virus is tempered by experience. Mortality is an acquaintance, in fact, we once bumped elbows. I am no more susceptible to contracting the virus than you. However, I may have a more serious response should it come my way. So be it.

Closed the waterfront to walkers on March 22nd

Our fragility as a species is revealed by a microscopic organism. Knowing better, we nonetheless chose to be unprepared. The current administration dissolved pre-existing agencies established for a menace such as Covid-19. Now, we pay the price for that choice.

Similarly, we will pay a price for our indifference to the threat of climate change. It’s cheering to see hummingbirds visit during the gloomy days of winter. Remember, though, this is unusual. It’s nowhere near equivalent to the Australian bush fires or 69 degree temperatures that recently occurred in Antarctica. But it serves to remind me, overwhelming evidence exists of this threat to humanity.

The coronavirus teaches us that calamities occur that effect all of mankind. It also shows that we can respond universally for the greater good of everyone. We will survive the pandemic. Climate change, however, will be a much more formidable challenge. Let’s hope we choose to be better prepared for its consequences than we were for this disease.

Now, a song … Today Will Not Be Here Tomorrow

The latest numbers …The Drill



16 thoughts on “Today Will Not Be Here Tomorrow

  1. Dear John. I have thought about you recently as it is the time of year that Janet and I venture out your way. I am thrilled you sent this so i could read that you too are adapting to this time of uncertainty. Well friend, we are all living this new norm. My NYC son and family came out to stay with us immediately when he felt this virus would eventually explode in nyc. That was 2 weeks ago. With that we are now a family of 7 and as grandparents admiring how adaptable everyone is to the shared living space. School on line starts Monday and the kids are ready for some structure. Gosh, i can’t imagine how difficult it to be a teacher who needs to teach online and be home with the kids. Chad and Valerie are pretty sure they will not be returning to nyc until mid-end June. Aaron and family are in LA and preparing to go into production with his TV Series. John I hope that your family is all safe and healthy. Please take care of yourself and enjoy Spring when she smiles upon us.


    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi June. We are well. Missing our grandkids so much. They live nearby but everyone is adhering to the social distancing advice. Glad to hear your son and family made it out of NYC! Stay well …


    2. June, John and Pam — I meant to comment on this weeks ago when you first wrote it, John. Thanks for your insights — as always, meaningful and full of good detail. June, if this ever burns itself out and we move about the countryside again, I look forward to having coffee with you and John in Hood River. Stay safe, everyone. Janet


  2. I so love to read your writing, even when the topic is a scary one. Even though I don’t have hummingbirds or petunias near our home, I’ll enjoy the doodlebugs and dandelions I see while I walk our dog. Thank you for balancing the things we need to do something about with the things that give us hope. Take care, John, and keep making music!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hiya:

    Been some time but I still follow your posts. Encouraging and uplifting to hear and read your voice.

    Your title – Today Will Not Be Here Tomorrow – reminds me of another saying – you’ll never be as young as you are right now. Time and life does march on.

    It’s interesting that people are looking forward to returning to “normal”. We, as cancer survivors, always talk about the “new normal”. So what will it be? Nothing will go back to the same we’ve had. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. My hope is that there will be some enlightenment, some change in culture, some appreciation for what’s passing before us.

    Then again, I’ve always been a bit of a naïve optimist. As if there’s any other.

    Seems we’re both 12 years out. Radiation has left me a few gifts that I’ve been unpacking the past few years. But I’m still here. So are you. There’s still hope for the world if that’s the case. J

    – Jeff

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jeff. It’s a nice surprise to see your comment. It made my day! Glad to learn you are well even if your experience comes with “gifts.” Thanks for reaching out …


  4. Hey John,
    Another very enjoyable blog, as always. And then topped off with that great song??? Damn. Awesome job. Think of you guys often. Have had a rough Winter. Had to have open heart bypass surgery early Dec. which went well, but it’s been nothing but complications since, so this “stayin’ in” business isn’t anything new. Lol Hugs to you my friend. Larry

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Larry for your comments. I hope your complications resolve during this period of forced isolation. Your “good heart” is needed to help soothe the pain of others.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s