On a COVID Beach Walk

So Frank has decided to commandeer my blog for a beach walk, like in those cop shows when the dude waves his badge in the middle of the street and rides off with some poor schlep’s Mid-size?

Okay maybe not. Instead Imma call this a friendly visit from Frank “Beaches” Angle, who is going to try his damndest to class up the joint for a spell with one of his beach walks. I warned him that I’m beyond help, but he’s just not having it, so there’s that.

Anyways, enjoy the walk!

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like to walk on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Today, I walk with a heavy heart. I think about one year ago – late February 2020 –  a time when we were entering our final week as snowbirds at the beach – doing things for the last time before returning to our northern home. COVID had entered the USA, but life for my relatives in Italy had already ground to a halt.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

A year ago was a time when some proclaimed the virus contained in the USA; passing through like the wind, therefore limiting cases to a handful of 20-25. A year ago was a time when some dismissed COVID cases compared to the flu.

A year ago, we saw reports of overwhelmed Italian hospitals and the beginning of the assault on New York City. We were preparing for our two-day journey home where my wife would have a few days to reorganize before departing on her annual cruise with her friends – leaving the husbands behind to fend for themselves.

During her week away when Ohio and other states went into lockdown – a time when people ravaged grocery stores and stocked up on paper and cleaning products. After seeing televised reports, my wife would call from a port to ask what was going on. Her ship made it back and hasn’t had passengers since she disembarked. She told me of the ship’s precautions and the crazed behaviors she observed at the airport.

As I draft this one year later, the death toll in the USA just passed 500,000. Yes, the USA – a country that is 4% of the world’s population having over 20% of the world’s pandemic deaths. 

I think about my time here at the beach one year later – fewer snowbird renters, restaurants are not busy, and fewer people in stores. The great music venue only 300 steps away is a regular place for us, but a place we never entered this year.

I think about my cousins in Italy who spent months in their apartment; and only allowed to leave for necessities. Only one of them going to a market where they may have to wait in line to enter; and then have a limited time to shop.

Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

I think about how a democracy can be messy. Too many Americans declaring a violation of rights based on Constitutional principles they misinterpret. People with countless reasons to justify a position – reasons that may be valid or invalid. Elected officials politicizing human health and general welfare – something that is still difficult for me to grasp.

I think about those who said they are living in a Communistic state. I wonder if the Czechs in the 1940s would agree when the Allies handled their democracy to the Nazis on a silver platter. What would the same Czechs say after the Soviet occupation took hold after the war – a control lasting over 40 years. 

I think about those who provided simple solutions as, “We have to learn to live with this virus.” Isn’t that what masking does? Is that the role of social distancing? Isn’t that getting a vaccine to everyone as quickly as possible? Isn’t that choosing to take the vaccine?

Over 500,000 Americans, gone in a year. Yes, a small percentage of our total population – but still, a half a million with tens of thousands more on the near horizon – and so many died alone.

I think about how the past year has ripped away something for everyone – yet, I laughed when American late-night host Jimmy Kimmel said at the beginning of Lent – (I paraphrase) – What is left to give up for Lent?

Over 500,000 people – gone – family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers to someone. Advocates, givers, and jokesters – the athletic, the artistic, the organizers, and the doers – the rich and the poor – the famous and the ordinary – the empathetic and the selfish – the nice and the mean – the positive and the negative – the young and the old – the humble and the egotistic – gone.

Photo by Laura James on Pexels.com

Over 500,000 people –  more than the cumulative USA battlefield casualties of major wars. People with quiet integrity and huge hearts. People whom we’ve never met. People that we would be proud to know.  Gone – and most with a limited funeral at best. 

I think about a higher number – those losing their job during the pandemic – some of those jobs never to return. Food banks, present to help the needy, but with new demands stressing their supply. Cheers to the many who stepped forward to help the supply – but the demand continues. 

In a conversation last summer, I asked this question: What have we learned? But, I wonder if people can answer that question beyond their political bias. One year later, after turning life in the world upside down – after a year of many losses – I occasionally still ask that one question, but seldom get a thoughtful answer.  

On the plus side, it’s been a year of celebrating health care workers, although we may not understand their stress. We celebrate that science works – although many still don’t understand it. We celebrate that kindness still works – even something as simple as checking on someone. 

I think about how every one of us lost numerous opportunities and precious time. Some of us have handled it better than others. Then again, the selfish are seldom happy.

Yes, my heart is heavy today. Like many others, I reminisce of better times and hope for better days ahead. On the other hand, I’m still standing on the upward side of the grass; healthy and walking on the beach – which is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

23 thoughts on “On a COVID Beach Walk

  1. The world has changed but it all changed together. We have an enemy we do not understand and cannot see. Some will never understand or accept and so dismiss but the majority will continue to fight a battle that we must win. I am still an unrepentant optimist although it’s harder these days. I believe we will one day look back and be proud that we stood strong. In the meantime we must accept our grief and honour those who are not walking with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No question the world has changed. Viruses are so unique that they don’t neatly fit into a definition of life. I too am optimistic, but humanity has a way of getting me to shake my head and wonder. Yes, it will be interesting to see how history treats this time. After all, it’s interesting to look back one year. Thanks for walking along and sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I did a double-take… What? Looked at the blog title. Nope, it’s Sorryless and not Beachwalk… Going for a two-fer, Frank? Curious…
    Good choice of song. The days of our lives have been ones we never could have imagined.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Cincy

    When you put it that way, the cumulative numbers in relation to all of the wars . . Jesus. And yes, that we are such a small percentage of the world’s population and yet we see these numbers? It makes me shake my head as to how ANYONE can sit on their high horses and proclaim exceptionalism of one place. We need all the places in the world to come together, as many of them have in this time.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel, I think there is.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Marc,
      Although I enjoyed the looking-back stories of the past year, they were a bit sobering for me. Today, yes – we hear the big numbers of vaccinations administered every day – a good thing – but it still one small scoop at a time compared to the whole. Yet – the number of people that won’t take the vaccine is also high …. and for many reasons, such as the government is injecting a tracking device! Yep – I guarantee that thought. But here’s what those people don’t know – they aren’t as important as they think they are. Nonetheless, there is a light at the end of the tunnel – let’s just hope the light is not a train. Thanks again for letting me post.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I always get a kick out of the peeps who claim to be defenders of the Constitution, in spite of the fact they don’t understand it.

        Lemme tell you, the Founding Fathers are looking down on these ‘defenders’ and shaking their heads saying “What a bunch of putzes!”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yay, love a two-fer from the esteamible, Frank. Well done. Yes, I’ve asked that same question and find it fascinating for all those who have objected to wearing masks, most everyone I know is committed to continue the practice (myself included) because of those ‘free-dumb’ loving fools. It seems too soon to let up on practices that might save countless lives as the virus does what viruses do…adapt and recreate itself. When one looks back at history it notable to realize the same thing happened during the 1918 flu panDAMNic. People railed at the then in place solutions to get through it after a few months, their impatience moving them to ‘go back to their normal routines’ prematurely and thus contributing to the extension of the duration for another year. Not sure if people understand the nature of viruses which was complicated regrettably by the last administration who neglected to properly prepare people for what was in store by politicizing the whole bloody mess. That’s unfortunate not just for the loss of more than half a million people, a fair number of them unnecessarily but it has been a good opportunity that was squandered with trust lost, which will be very hard to earn back. Stay safe, sane and keep smiling.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I for one cannot understand the mentality of someone who thinks a mask is the loss of freedom. Strapped in a hospital bed on a ventilator is the loss of freedom. One would wish all the deaths from COVID were those who refused a mask but we know that is not the situation. I’m in line for my second shot on April 2nd. I’m going to continue to wear a mask since until we have 70% or more of the population vaccinated there is still a high risk. I have been wearing a mask on airplanes for the last ten years since my immune system has been medically compromised. It was always fun to see people get up and request another seat rather than sit next to me when I showed up in my N95 mask. I haven’t traveled since last March but it would be a change to be just one of the crowd. Good post, Frank. Thanks, Marc for being a weenie and giving up your space.

    Liked by 2 people

    • John,
      Ah ha … so you had an N95 mask all along. Good for you. Another factor that is in-line with your point is that the majority of deaths in the US are people in our age bracket. Then again, the nay-sayers seem to be following any rationalization to fits their paradigm. After all, Moderna received gov’t funding for the vaccine so the gov’t could embed a tracker into the vaccine. Ah yes – as if all of us are worth tracking. Oh wait – the portable phone already does that! Meanwhile, I haven’t been on an airplane and currently have no tickets waiting to be used. But the time will come when I will fly again – but not yet. Thanks for sharing your personal story!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Frank,
    This IS a special Beachwalk. It is your most poignant.
    Here in Toronto, we’ve been in lock down since November. In spite of that, it’s only recently the numbers plateaued. Christmas took a toll. So, they opened it up a bit. Now the numbers are going up, again. We might go back into full lockdown. Find out next week.
    So many don’t care, are freaked out by misinformation or just information in general and worse are defiant. I refer partly to the younger who don’t get as sick, if they get sick at all.
    In Alberta, they are a bit panicked. It seems the #1 demographic now getting hospitalized from Covid is the 30 – 40 year old group. This is thanks to the variants. The virus is very clever. We, on another hand, are mere mortals.
    I began wearing a mask last February. I’m getting my first shot of AsrtaZeneca tomorrow!
    Up and Atom!
    Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Resa,
      Thanks for the information about Toronto and Alberta. My first draft had more about how it has impacted me, but then I decided the heck with that approach. Be broader with hopes others may share about them – so thank you! No doubt about it – this virus is showing its adaptability! … and thanks for walking along.

      Liked by 1 person

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