Skip to content

The COVID19 Diaspora

April 2, 2020

36 of 47

Emily Dickinson lived her adult life in a physical lock that poised an explosion of insight and question. To no one, perhaps a few, she wrote to and for herself the thoughts Billions are having, right now, as the world stops and stays in its room.

“Somewhere upon the general Earth

Itself exist Today —

The Magic passive but extant

That consecrated me —

Indifferent Seasons doubtless play

Where I for right to be —

Would pay each Atom that I am

But Immortality —

Reserving that but just to prove

Another Date of Thee —

Oh God of Width, do not for us

Curtail Eternity!”

Emily Dickinson went to Mount Holyoke College in the mid-19th century. I am guessing there she heard of the “atom” either as Ancient Greek Theory or as the hot, new, groundbreaking work of chemist John Dalton.

She returned from Holyoke to her home for nearly 30 years to live in her room. She was in an intellectual diaspora, where she travelled far inside a mind inside a room and encountered questions she could not answer. She was going nowhere as a physical being, but opting away from the life she, and everyone she knew, lived.

“Indifferent Seasons doubtless play

Where I for right to be —

Would pay each Atom that I am

But Immortality —”

I am guessing that Emily did not care whether cutting edge physics or Ancient Greek definitions of our wholeness described her whole. She was in her “Indifferent Season” of traveling in her intellectual diaspora on the The Good Ship Bedroom.

That is where we are, too.

We are in our bedrooms, now detached from the endless makings of lives, surviving, apparently, the eating of an infected bat (who had eaten infectious duck poop). We are in a COVID19 Diaspora.

The lives we carefully crafted, defended, believed in, relied upon, are now, for now, done. Finished without death to defer death. We each have been exiled into our hermitage. We have done it to ourselves, for ourselves. Some want to believe that someone “did” this to us, but this is as inevitable as our will and want.

Reserving that but just to prove

Another Date of Thee —

Oh God of Width, do not for us

Curtail Eternity!”

An architect friend just bewailed on the Internet: “I have just had all my jobs cancelled.” This is true for him and for untold others. But the reality is that this Diaspora is forcing us to the job each of us have, and Emily lived – to understand why we are here, doing this.

For some of us this is, as a meme I saw last night conveyed we are living “The Lentiest Lent I Ever Lented”. And it is. It is both new and fully forever human. What has been done to us is not what we have done, but what we do with it is why we are.

I think Emily got that.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: