“Nothing is terrible except fear itself.” Sir Francis Bacon
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Don’t Panic” The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (by Douglas Adams)
Well, it appears that, in New York State anyway, the current “new reality” will continue a while longer as those in the forefront of this pandemic acknowledge that “the timeline will be decided by the virus.” With that in mind, the Arts Center, along with other “non-essential” businesses in Yates County, will remain closed to the public until further notice. We’re grateful to the county and village governments for their clear-headed approach to this challenge and to the first responders and medical personnel who are doing their best to prepare for the worst if it comes.
Happily there have been no reports of coronavirus transmission in Yates County to date – and that is probably largely due to area residents who are taking the recommended precautions not necessarily to safeguard themselves but to protect the community as a whole. Folks coming home from winter sojourns are “self-isolating” for the suggested two weeks before venturing out – and, frankly, the weather has been “cooperative” – for the most part it’s been too damp and/or cold to want to be out and about. When it’s not – well, expect that much of Yates County will boast outstanding lawns and gardens this summer.
Not surprisingly, the biggest challenge of “NY Pauses” is boredom. There is, after all, a limit to how many Hallmark movies even I can watch…as well as a limit to the number of times I can reread a book (some of the newer reads just haven’t caught my interest the way I thought they would – “America’s librarian” Nancy Pearl of Seattle suggests that if you’re not engaged in a book after reading 50 pages, give it up and go on to the next book on your list) and watching or reading the news really is not particularly productive or calming. So – here’s where art shows one of the reasons why it’s essential.
Painters are painting, writers are writing, musicians are composing – there’s a flurry of creative thinking and activity happening everywhere! There are free virtual concerts and museum tours and poetry slams. There’s singing and dancing on balconies and porches, drawing on sidewalks, even performances of plays by actors in multiple locations. Jigsaw puzzles are getting dragged out of closets and out from under beds for assembly. Board games are seeing a resurgence. We do have ways to keep in touch without actually touching! As Neil Diamond sang in his revised chorus to “Sweet Caroline” – “Hands…washing hands. Reaching out. Don’t touch me, I won’t touch you.”
The scientists and medical personnel are fighting the pandemic with science, the first responders and “essential services” providers are fighting it with service – for the rest of us, the best we can do is to keep our chins up (more of those by the day as I consume every snack in the house), find creative ways to fight the fear (visit the Arts Center’s Facebook page for ideas), don’t panic and “know where your towel is.” (It’s a thing – read the book.)
Keep checking in – we want to hear where you are and how you are. You matter!