Thoughts in a Covid-19 World

I haven’t felt like writing for quite some time, but today I received the inspiration I was pleading, and so it goes that I want to talk about this Covid-19 crisis that we will seemingly endure for quite some time. It will change our world, our lives. The number of positives today reach 169 in Minnesota alone, not to speak of the enormous numbers across the world.

Our lives are impacted as we all get used to this self-quarantine in our homes. The temps outside are just shy of my desire to take my bicycle out, though newly tuned, I am thinking at least a short ride in the late afternoon when the temperature peaks. That would seem a freely healthy move inside this isolation.

I am a coffeeshop guy and I went through early withdrawal with the words of our Governor shutting down any inside seating. It makes frightening sense to me now as I watch the numbers and their daily rise. It is important to recognize these are real people and not simply numbers. People’s lives across the world are changed, forever. People have lost loved ones like a germ warfare attack throughout Europe and now having reached the states, it is clearly an epidemic not seen since perhaps the Polio outbreak.

I’m a teacher so I don’t have to go into work. We are planning to go online with our courses in a couple of weeks, not only finishing a quarter but perhaps completing the school year online. I haven’t wrapped my head around that. At the same time I appreciate the time off to get my head straight with my own personal life, I realize our work, as experimental as it is, so vastly impacts the lives of our students. I hope to give them a solid foundation for their education in both core and elective classes.

I run a  theatre program that will shut down for the spring if these effected lives do not begin a downturn in the weeks ahead. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. As I sit here with a mild cough, I get nervous, and wonder about the thousands of lives in Minnesota already infected. Again, I’m only focusing locally, because really that is all my brain can muster right now. Looking out my window, I know that on everyone’s mind outside that walks by, is the virus. We are living a summer blockbuster. The only difference is it is real.

I think as a teacher, someone said recently, maybe now our profession will be appreciated when families are stuck at home rather than sending their children to school. Well then I would say all of those people in all professions need to be respected for the impact staying home has on their livelihood, and then don’t forget the medical personnel in all capacities who are dedicating their lives to curbing the spread of a virus that they cannot even clearly see a vaccine that will brings this to a halt.

My car has 12 miles of gas left in it before empty, and I am not in any huge hurry to go fill the tank. There really is no need, unless I decide to just take a drive and never get out. That might be in the near future if the temperatures don’t rise and my bicycle remains hanging in the garage.

I wish everyone peace during this very difficult time. I hope you may all hold your family and friends near your heart and soul. I hope those alone don’t feel completely invisible to our society and world, and realize there are many in the same circumstance. I hope people may find their peace of mind within themselves and use faith and prayer, your chosen method of processing this incredible violation upon the human condition..

On a lighter note, I hope Netflix does not shut down.

Peace everyone,


@ Thom Amundsen 3/2020

An Unconditional Prelude

We stood and watched,

heard about a couple of planes

ascending into the atmosphere

above and beyond a toxic city.

 

We wondered aloud,

thought oh my, such a tragedy,

imagined only a particular moment,

far beyond our backyard,

we don’t even need a fence,

so convenient,

so far away.

 

We began to stare

a certain shock

this calamity of our social

atmosphere,

shutting down,

closing, ending,

creating financial ruin,

the livelihood of so many,

suddenly matters little,

not a bitter response,

just one of humanity,

a time to understand,

find meaning.

 

There is ahead of ourselves a prelude

asking, universal, unconditional love.


© Thom Amundsen 3/2020

Having A Cry

Just now,

in the quiet atmosphere,

where no one

might hear my sigh.

A silent recall

today a different time,

conversation and laughs,

and then a glance, a pause

when eyes purposely

met one another

again.

Quite evident is the changing focus,

something

exciting to us both.

 

I will remember you

a saying just out of the blue.

I will remember you

a vision, a different view.

 

Sometime we wonder,

what if,

when did,

no answers coming yet.

There will be those moments

when our lives

do recall the humor

held our lives together,

and then today in the sweet

reckoning of our reality,

we did glance,

we did look for

some solace

in a spectacular time.

 

I will remember you

a saying just out of the blue.

I will remember you

a vision, a different view.

 

Look at love said the obscure seer

who believed in harmony

look before a discord shook the enemy.

So it looks the way

we might imagine,

some purpose,

a reliance

on know

we will live upon our dreams,

share our fortunes

without any monetary

illusion.

 

I will remember you

a saying just out of the blue.

I will remember you

a vision, a different view.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

The Importance of Beauty

We live in a society of measure. Of mirrors and reflections and purposeful glances. We operate by sensing physicality alone, even when made aware of a far deeper context to what is beauty in our lives, in our society. This is an important subject to dwell upon in light of the ugliness we are experiencing in our own country, in the world itself. The idea of glamor far exceeds the recognition of beauty and how it operates in the well-being of ourselves, our friends and family, our planet.

I remember as a young child knowing what beauty was in an innocent mind. I watched Diana Ross on Ed Sullivan, I noticed the screaming young girls at the front of a stage at a concert for the Beatles. I was madly in love with Gidget or Marcia Brady of course. In all those examples I was focusing on their physical attributes, which gave me a foundation as young boy to know what defined beauty in my life. It wasn’t until I watched a dear friend perform her gymnastic composition on parallel bars that I began to know another definition. It wasn’t until I walked home with a school mate, though a couple years older than me, and striking in her glamorous demeanor that I noticed beauty in a different level.

In watching my friend perform I was struck by her commitment to what she loved at the time, an athletic prowess as a young woman, one that allowed her to become a state champion in her abilities. To me that wonderment of effort was beautiful to observe.

Later in life, listening to a friend of the family talk about what is important, as we crossed our familiar bridge on our way home from school, and descended a hill that held our neighborhood. She was teaching lessons as a 12th grader to a 9th grader, how important it was to love yourself before you could love others. In listening to her, I realized there was more than fashionable jeans, a chic style sweater, perfect hair to define the beauty inherent with my friend. She taught me about compassion and that began for me a different focus upon beauty in our lives.

One day as a twelve year old I was getting a ride from my sister to basketball practice. She asked me what was wrong as I slumped in the passenger seat. I told her I was lonely, didn’t know what to do about it. She stopped the car, turned to me and said you have to find a passion in your life. As a twelve year old, I blushed and imagined passion to be something sexual, and I couldn’t believe she was telling me this. She then explained the word passion is not simply about sex, it is about loving what you do, finding something that gives you the ability to believe in yourself because your energy is drawn completely to accentuating your own passion.

That lesson from my sister, the walk with my friend, the athletic prowess of my schoolmate, all of those pieces of my life gave me opportunity to recognize a more holistic approach to understanding beauty in my life.

Certainly as a young man, I was still drawn to the beauty of woman, the wonder of her elegance, in the summertime, the fascination of her stylistic manner of wardrobe on a cold winter’s day, how intriguing it was to know she would be cognizant of a look she wanted to have in the midst of a bustling society. I remember knowing a woman who I watched cross the street one day, wearing a striking rain jacket and green knee high rain boots.

Her image has stayed with me all my life, as did the day she and I were lounging in her apartment, and I commented on her jeans, and she gave me a smile and said she had been wearing them for eight days. I thought that was the coolest thing, her sweet comfort level with her own self image caused me to feel beauty about her person, well beyond a physical characteristic.

I think the deeper context of who we are is often easily forgotten about, put aside, neglected. I have a brother who in his elder life, now sits in an art museum and curates the lovers of a gallery in his home town. We had a chance to visit him one afternoon, and he was so in his element – he knew the history of all the works in the gallery, and his smile radiated as we walked through the rooms. I took his picture afterwards because I wanted to have a record of the beauty that shined from him internally. He looked to be a happy man.

Beauty for me holds a lot of different values. Seeing a band perform live, watching my students reach fruition on the stage with their efforts. Observing a student find their way in a classroom studying a subject they have never understood. Seeing students take chances and risks knowing one another beyond a superficial level. Watching my family evolve as I see my two children continue to strive for happiness in their lives rather than letting hardships discourage them. Having close friends dear to your heart that are there to support you, laugh at your whims, share dialogue and understanding for your own passions.

That word passion comes back every time I struggle. The passion to seek, the passion to address needs of concern, the passion to love. We are a vulnerable lot easily drawn to the pain in our lives rather than seeing the beauty of who we are and accentuating beauty in the lives of those around us. My hope is that the people around me, those I am closest to, can see beauty for what it truly is, to give meaning to what is important, beautiful and eternal in our lives.


© Thom Amundsen 2019

Life Is Not A Ploy

Though there would be

immediate disagreement in one,

quiet satisfaction in another,

in the final hour,

one would realize if they did stop

to glance,

a world beyond their own device,

would, might

still exist,

and in that social fabric ignored,

a pain,

a fighting soul

whose rapture not found

might emulate

the sorrowful nature

of a discompassionate ploy.

 

Yes, simply a game,

beyond the reality of our terms,

defined by the human condition,

a banter of

despondent disregard

favors

only the regarded one …

or two, or three, or miles of more,

so difficult it is to understand

the lemings at my door.

MLK Jr. – 50 Years Ago His Words Began

MLK Jr.

photo courtesy Bustle


I knew this man,

well, my mother,

she taught me

to know this man.

 

i remember when he spoke,

his voice was beautiful,

a rhapsody of passionate

words to speak to everyone.

 

A scared nation,

completely aware

of what really is hell,

what was this man’s tell.

 

I remember my mother

saying to me one night,

Martin Luther King, Jr.

means love, he speaks love.

 

I remember being fascinated

by this preacher’s voice,

he kept returning,

he wouldn’t go away.

 

Despite bricks being thrown,

a society being scorned,

he basically smiled, stated,

‘I have a dream.’

 

I knew this man,

50 years ago tonight,

right around the evening

hour, we lost his voice.

 

Jesse Jackson, described it

like the clap of his hand,

the bullet was immediate,

and MLK Jr. was gone.

 

I love this beautiful man I never knew

but I believe I do, he did truly love you.

Mother

A heartbeat.

A cradled affection,

a sense of worry is unconditional,

she will always remember that one time.

 

Oh while the years pass,

many judgments, a currency of opportunity,

an aesthetic realization that depends upon her eyes,

she will always remember that one time.

 

We willingly recall,

the time she managed our innocence

with a sweep of her hand, a tender kiss,

she will always remember that one time.

 

I’m on the bus,

her walking nearby she said later,

yours was  a rather contemplative sadness,

she will always remember that one time.

 

There live the fortunes of time,

when we can respond to favored memory,

while, growing we did become showered in smiles,

she will always remember that one time.

 

And I suppose we all will,

that one time,

when in the throes of our own lifetime,

we did look toward the skies and delight in …

 

mother.