Letter from Cressida Pryor
March 16, 2020
Spring Equinox 2020
We live in extraordinary times.
A rather beautiful tiny microorganism too small to be seen by light microscopy but able to multiply within our living cells has brought our beautiful blue planet’s people, us, to a place of great existential fear and awareness.
I am fearful. I feel I still have much to do...more to live...more to contribute...more to enjoy.
And yet I have asthma; sometimes when struggling to breathe I know only too well the terror of respiratory distress. There are many other ways too to tick that ‘underlying medical conditions’ box that you or your loved ones may live with.
So we are told the risk is small but also repeatedly updated on the tally of untimely deaths...
And yet the conundrum is this: to find comfort, solace and strength can often be to seek the company of others...to share our fears, to hold hands, to hug and support each other. Social distancing for our health protection prevents this...Sadly the Spring Equinox festival at our Irish Foundation Centre has been cancelled like so many other gatherings...So we need to be content with virtual contact or like our Italian friends; to sing together from our separate balconies.
So I ask this question: what song would you sing? A lament...A song to foster strength and solidarity or a song of cheer and distraction?
I find my song changes from moment to moment as fresh news tumbles through the airwaves...
What certainly comes across in the balcony songs is the sublime balance of both listening to and harmonising with the cantor...a tender connection that perhaps reflects what this whole episode can teach us.
It seems we had stopped listening, both to the planet’s needs and those of us, the people who inhabit it. Perhaps it takes a worldwide pandemic to get us listening again. To shut us up from all the noise and chatter of everyday life as we retreat into ‘self isolation’. This can be a time to reflect and listen to bird song, and find the collaborative spirit that both enhances and builds real harmony between us all again...
I am finishing with the final words from a recent poem called ‘Lockdown’ by Fr Richard Kendrick;
‘Spring is coming
And we are always encompassed by Love,
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
To touch across the empty square,
With love and blessings for strength, healing and peace and remembrance that we are all the precious children of the Goddess.
Cressida, FOI Steward