Thought I’d check in to see how you’re handling this pandemic. What started quietly in December on the other side of the globe has exploded into a killer storm, taking even healthy young people down like a tornado bowling through a forest.

So far, we’re okay out here in Nowheresville. At a time when facemasks make fashion statements and ordering take-out lasagna proves you’re a good citizen, people joke about stockpiling toilet paper. What can you say. The lamest bit of humor goes a long way during a pandemic. 

To keep our sanity, we’ve been plowing through books, playing catch with our dog and doing what all responsible pyromaniacs do–keeping it in the fireplace. 

Regarding great literature, a famous passage from Ernest Hemingway’s novel, “A Farewell to Arms,” feels worth mentioning right now. This now legendary story features a young American wounded during World War I while driving a Red Cross ambulance in Italy. Coincidentally, “A Farwell to Arms” takes place in 1918 during the Spanish Flu Pandemic. 

At the hospital while recovering from his injuries, the hero falls in love with a nurse. She gets pregnant and dies in childbirth, leaving the American all alone in a chaotic world. It’s a wonderful book with a tragic ending. Hemingway wrote this story almost a century ago. 

It includes this famous passage:

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” 

We’re still early in this covid-19 pandemic, so it would be premature to announce that survivors will be stronger when good health returns. Many lives, not to mention hospitals and cities world-wide will almost certainly never be the same. Still, hope springs eternal, as they say.

Now, we’ll leave you with a small story that played out recently in a field across the road. 

It was about 6 a.m. and our thermometer read 19. Most humans were snoring at the time or getting ready for work. I was wide awake, thinking of our son, a registered nurse in Grand Junction. 

Our son works as a flight nurse for a hospital’s flight-for-life emergency medical team. They transport seriously ill patients by helicopter and plane. 

Thus far, our son is healthy. When your kid’s an adrenalin junkie who loves taking risks, your worries are nothing new. But for one moment on this spring morning, my worries were completely distracted by an invigorating walk through our neighborhood. 

This field, a huge green space still white with a half foot blanket of fresh powder, is usually so quiet you could hear a pine cone drop. Not today.

As Ozzie and I made our constitutional around the field’s perimeter, what sounded like a raven with a megaphone drew our attention. Squawking went on and on and on. 

This was no raven. Ensconced in the snow like a furry sentry, a red fox barked at a coyote nearby. 

This particular fox trots through our neighborhood all the time. But the coyote was clearly an interloper, a four-legged immigrant of sorts, who ignored Mr. Fox while hopping about and digging for mice or whatever breakfast surprise lay beneath the snow. He looked to be three times the size of the noise-maker.

Ozzie tugged on his leash, eager to join what looked like fun, and unaware that the coyote could have made mincemeat out of him and the fox if he wanted to. But he made no move to chase us, we are happy to report. 

What a fine start to the day.