Looking in, looking out

Dear President Trump,

I know it’s just coincidence, but it rather looks like someone at the WP read yesterday’s letter about not losing sight of the people behind the covid-19 numbers since all four of those featured in the front page obituary section have their causes of death attributed to coronavirus (typically cause of death is not in the obit section headlines). The four people are Ellis Marsalis, who was a jazz pianist, Bucky Pizzarelli, a guitarist who played with 7 strings, Kevin Duffy, a prominent judge, and Adam Schlesinger, a songwriter. Pizarelli was the oldest at 94 and Schlesinger was the youngest at 52. Again, it may be a coincidence or it may be that the WP isn’t very good about noting women’s deaths, but this little slice of coronavirus fatalities is in keeping with the observation that males appear more likely to die from it. Like I said, though, there are many confounds here and it’s the smallest of non-representative samples so that’s all I’ll say about that.

This morning I let myself sleep in and thought maybe I’d skip my wee hours walk, but our little dog was not having it so I went ahead and got up, fed them, let them out, and then went for a short walk. Now, having done it, I’m glad – it’s the first week in many, many weeks that I made it out all five weekday mornings for a walk and that’s a good thing since it provides at least the illusion that I’m asserting a modicum of control over my life.

I decided to reverse one of my typical short routes just to mix things up and I saw two small Buddha statues up on a house we used to visit for church covenant meetings years ago. The woman we knew has long since moved away from Seattle, but that house is a marker and I look at it frequently and you know I’m a Buddha statue tracker, so I was surprised to see them up there all of the sudden (to me). The real reason, though, to bring them up is that both of the statues were facing in towards the house, away from the street. While I know of several Buddha statues in the neighborhood situated inside fences in corners of yards that are facing in, I’ve never seen any that are so close to houses that are facing in. I imagine it’s probably nice to leave one’s house and nod to “your” Buddhas, but it’s also nice to come home and on the way in to nod to one’s Buddhas and it’s nice to share one’s Buddhas with passersby. I hadn’t thought of it this way before, but we have one Buddha facing out near our back gate and another in the far corner of the yard facing in towards the house, affording in/out and out/in opportunities, plus the bonus share.

Towards the end of my walk I was on the once-upon-a-time busy arterial that runs in front of our house and glanced up at one of the houses set up fairly high on the block before ours. It felt like my heart skipped a beat when I realized that what I was seeing in their living room window were three brown teddy bears sitting on the back of the couch facing out. They were (and probably still are) leaning on each other in a chummy way, looking for all the world like they wanted to come out and play. I’ve seen the dad who lives there saddling his two (three??) kids up for bike rides and I can imagine them all setting out their friends just so, hoping that someone notices them and waves, or at least smiles. I did smile, but I didn’t think to wave; if they’re still there next time I go by, I will definitely wave.

May we be safe whether we are looking in or we are looking out.
May we be willing to flex our focus.
May we reach out when we can and hunker in when we need to.
May we accept sweet gestures.

Tracy Simpson

2 thoughts on “Looking in, looking out

  1. Apparently there’s been a small movement locally of people putting teddy bears in windows. It’s to make people smile, and to provide a bit of adventure for all the children going for walks without their friends. “We’re going on a bear hunt…”


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