I’m anything but a historian, but this whopper of a year has me thinking like one. I find myself pondering what it means to have lived through 2020, a year that was full of so much and also so little. A year so unique that it will be talked about for decades to come, if not forever, just as we swap stories about where we were when the Towers fell or when Kennedy was shot. But however alike in terms of before-and-after comparisons, those events were mere instances, specific moments in time. Questions to which there is a simple answer.
What about the momentous phenomena that occurs over a long period of time? The flash points of history that seem to unfold in slow-motion, or more accurately, in regular motion — that which occurs at the pace of day to day life? What do we make of events that happen amidst the laundry and the bill paying and which will span enough time for some to have two birthdays come and go?
The kind of experience that allows one to answer the where were you question is distinctly different from the one that asks how. How were you the year that everything happened, beauty and terror, to loosely quote Rilke.
Question: Help! Lazy monsters have taken over my house! In other words, my kids aren’t doing so good. All they ever want to do is play video games or watch YouTube. When I ask them to do something like a chore, or even their homework, they bite my head off. What can we do to make it through this long winter?
(This article was originally published by Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
The line to enter the Columbia City Farmers Market stretched down 35th Avenue South, curving down South Ferdinand Street, shoppers standing the designated six feet apart in the shade of the trees of the shuttered Interagency Academy. Vendors stacked fresh vegetables and prepared food on tables that lined each side of South Edmunds Street, tokens of normalcy in abnormal times.
Just a block away, Monika Mathews had a small table of her own set up in front of QueenCare, the natural skincare company that she launched in December 2018. Colorful face masks and dangling earrings next to Black Lives Matter shirts and a handful of her handmade products lay out to tempt customers, as a person filled bottles with handmade products inside the small storefront.