What Next?

Kite Boarders Defying The Poor Air Quality.

In September, smoke from wildfires shut down activities in much of Oregon. An eerie mustard colored sky shrouded the community of Hood River. The burnt smell of the air created a vacancy reminiscent to March/April’s sheltering in place. Eyes itched and stung; throats seized up dry and scratchy. People were dispossessed of how to pass the time. One could not/should not go outside but staying indoors isolated a populace that yearned for engagement after months of hibernation due to Covid-19.

Adding to the overall discombobulation of this moment in 2020’s harrowing year of extraordinary events, I experienced two health issues related to treatments for my cancer, multiple myeloma: an infection in my jaw and breathing problems. 😩

Serious side effects from long term use of certain drugs are a consequence of survival. As a cancer veteran, I adhere to the idea that the illness is like soft luggage. There’s always room for one more complication. The issues resolved somewhat thanks to attentive care from my doctor and a dentist. It’s inaccurate to say they have disappeared, but I can stuff these problems into the backpack of my disease and move on with the journey. 

Autumn rains arrived just as these developments moderated. The wet weather drenched an Oregon parched by wild fires. The devastation of forests and wildlife and the loss of human structures and dreams put on trial the concept of resilience. This natural disaster occurred along with the threat of disease from an invisible pandemic. Covid-19 plucks us indiscriminately from health to illness, often fatally. Additionally, millions remain unemployed due to restrictions to contain the virus. How much more must some endure? 

So, too, one must hold on against the politics of 2020. Each week, failure and scandal of the current administration is degraded by a more ominous distraction. Before one can process their outrage, a new revelation of incompetence or a fascist threat stuns us.

My Grandson. The CDC Could Use An Honest Scientist.

Take your pick: Covid deaths, law and order debacles, the Russian bounty on US soldiers, “tell all” books by relatives, associates, and respected journalists. To this we can add tax malfeasance and the president’s debate performance with its shame of a “stand back and stand by” statement aimed at white supremacist groups. Then, there’s the persistent sowing of doubt about our country’s election integrity coupled with the menacing refusal to accept a peaceful transition, should he lose. It’s exhausting. It’s sad. Yet, citizens are left to wonder, “What next?”

Covid’s unrelenting presence accelerates as our nation careens toward the confinement of winter weather. The president, himself, tested positive, yet he and some of his associates continue their reckless dismissal of Covid-19. They deny science, common sense, and thwart the credibility of both the CDC and FDA.

My hope is that a free and fair election will bring the chaos under control. But until that date in November, our topsy turvy news cycle will continue to fill us with dread.



16 thoughts on “What Next?

    1. Hi Erin. I miss you too! Hope the girls are doing well. I am reading a Craig Johnson mystery at the moment. Lightweight, but fun. Tough guy with a dog called Dog. The book title is The Dark Horse.


  1. Thanks so much as always for your insightful and encouraging writings. My husband has lost his battle with mm, but he was 80 and had led a wonderful and productive life. May your positivity and love for life continue to inspire others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John, thank you for being so honest and so eloquent. And strong! I hope the health problems are manageable. I love all your pictures, especially your future scientist grandson!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ginger. Our grandkids are the primary source of our joy during this apocalyptic moment in time. We can’t be with them as often as we would like during Covid. Using discretion, however, we have maintained a close and loving relationship.

      I am enjoying your reminiscences. Keep them coming. 👍


  3. Hi John. Appreciating your wisdom and strength from Boston where the air is pleasantly cool and, as I’m typing, a crescent moon has eased into view above my apartment window. Feels like the calm before a wicked winter.

    Hope your jaw and breathing issues continue to improve.

    Best to you and your family, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting Frank. I have close family in Boston. My brother-in-law is professor of an Endowed Chair at Tufts. LOL, they are not too fond of northeast winters. Hope it is normal and not ‘wicked’. 💦


  4. The wildfires in the West put Covid and politics on the back burner during my time back in the PNW. Your title states the feeling of most “what next?!?” One thing about your writing, it inevitably makes me think and it puts a smile on my face, I mean really: “I adhere to the idea that the illness is like soft luggage. There’s always room for one more complication…” Great writing. Of course, your listing of the litany of abuses of Mr. Trump had the opposite effect, still made me think but mainly thinking about that day in November to come quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Randall. Thanks for your comment. I have my fingers crossed that the upcoming election will help to unify our country. There’s been too much divisiveness.

      I know you travel frequently for your art. I hope you take all precautions with respect to the pandemic. Your voice and your photography make a difference. 😎


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