It was always out there. Danger, possibility of it. Now it has a name. The name of a virus.
When we dropped our children to school and got our hair cut and when we drank coffee in a shop seated near the door, looking out at the street and passersby, when we stood at the bus stop and climbed up holding on to the rails, on a subway back to back with other commuters, sharing the cramped air, our bags and bodies almost touching, headphones on our ears.
I read a parable yesterday. A woman is being chased by a tiger. She is running away as fast as she can, when she sees a rope hanging on the side of a mountain. She jumps off and holds on to the rope but when she looks down she sees there are more tigers. Near her she sees a strawberry plant, a few bright red strawberries. When she looks up, she sees a mouse biting the very rope she is holding on to. She looks up, she looks down, she looks at the tigers and the mouse. Then she picks up a strawberry, puts it in her mouth and eats it slowly, enjoying it thoroughly.
Our life has always been this way, dangerous. Only now it feels we aree more keenly aware of it and the only way to keep sane every day is to focus on eating that strawberry.