So I Get to Reflect… by John Bos

John Bos lives in Shelburne Falls. He is a contributing writer for Green Energy Times, Citizen Truth, a regular My Turn contributor to the Greenfield Recorder and a columnist for the Shelburne Falls West County Independent.


So I Get to Reflect… 

It is a time of deep reflection. My iPhone calendar constantly reminds me that it is time to go to the Y or to a doctor’s appointment. These are false messages from another time. I’m not going anywhere. Most people are not going anywhere. They’re not supposed to. We are, all of us, supposed to remain unto ourselves, stay away from all other people and wash our hands.

So I get to reflect. What the hell else is there to do? Oh, I know. Tons of emails to and from friends and family. Constantly changing “shoulds” about how to get through this “time.” 

My normal life. What “they” are calling the “new normal.” What I am calling the new “abnormal.” A time of deep reflection.

Reflecting upon how I have kept my life moving over the past eight decades has evoked a self-incriminating criticism of that journey. My reflection is telling me that I have not really, I mean not really, been coming to grips with what I fear truth might be. I mean the truth about who I really am, who I pretend to be, who I continually run away from and just maybe who I would still like to be. 

Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear for my son and his family in that SoHo loft their mother and I took possession of in 1971. There’s more. But my fears seem like feelings bobbing on the surface of my aging ocean of not knowing. All fear is rooted in the fear of death.

This pandemic thing. I have spent hours receiving and sending photos and videos full of gallows humor as, I suppose, an escape from what is happening “out there.” Or how we might or might not come through all of this. One diversion from my own huge silence is my anger at the indescribable, criminal incompetence and lack of humanity that our government is foisting upon us. All of us, regardless of who we are and what we believe.

I told a friend that I felt that I was on the cusp of some kind of shift in the way I have been dancing through time. The shift is about moving away from my belief that things can be “fixed” – like the unregulated capitalism that feeds off the “people” and that is killing our planet. The COVID 19 impact on the world is a small preview of distractions from the coming, much larger climate crisis. 

Things that seemed so important a few weeks ago are losing their positions in my hierarchy of what feels valuable to me. What I’m doing at this very moment is trying to listen into the huge silence in the outer world of coronavirus lockdowns to see where I might fit in. What I am trying to do in this very moment is to interrupt this sadness of never really understanding myself and really feeling, really embracing the immanence of death, be it mine or the world as we have known it.