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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

My thoughts for the month

Nov 28, 2020 11:15AM ● By Dr. D Rodger ND

The poet Mary Oliver said, “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” That seems just right for this holiday season.

We recently marked a new grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic: at least a quarter of a million Americans are dead, and the virus is raging.  News of two vaccines offer hope for some, but even on an accelerated schedule, life as we knew it, according to the experts, is still a year away. These are trying times and we can only hope that this is a one-time experience as we head into a COVID winter.

Clearly, the 2020 holiday season will be unlike any other in modern history. The Centers for Disease Control is strongly recommending that people not travel for the holidays. Public health experts say that the safest, most prudent approach to the holidays this year is to stay home. To be “all in this thing together” means we must stay apart. But this much separation from one another is hard after nearly nine months, pandemic fatigue is real.

People are finding all sorts of ways to connect, celebrate and reflect. There will be lots of dinners over Zoom, but also many small gatherings outdoors, around fire pits and on porches beneath heated lamps. Most are taking the dangers of the pandemic seriously, it does make sense that you plan to make short term sacrifices, to keep yourselves your families and your communities safe.

A century ago, the world was struggling through another pandemic. The second wave of the 1918 flu was much more powerful than the first. It, too, spiked in the fall and winter. More than 675,000 Americans died during that public health crisis, more than a quarter of those deaths just in October. Maybe the things that are important to us now aren’t so different from what held people up then?

For most this year’s family Holiday gatherings will not happen, the bird will be smaller, fewer potatoes will be mashed, and there will be only one vegetable, and a half portion of cranberry sauce, flecked with fresh ginger, toasted pecans, orange zest and maple syrup. And for dessert: cranberry cheesecake, because some traditions should not disappear.  If you can’t hold your loved ones close this year, we hope you’ll find some hope and connection from afar.  

We wish you all a very safe and happy festive holiday season,

Dr. D Rodger ND

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