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  • Writer's pictureKaren L

Soft Spots

The soft spots on an infant's head do not remain a long time. So it is with my psyche. I feel a softness so seldomly these days. This morning, I listened to a Zoom production of "Yerushalyim Shel Zahav", and a softness opened up in me. The music, the beautiful voices of the female cantors, and scenes of Israel unlocked a sweet sadness. The pictures of Jerusalem triggered the old, idealistic promise of Israel, gone forever. One of the singers in the Zoom production was a former cantor at Temple Emanuel in San Francisco. She sang at my mother's funeral in July. Immediately, I recalled the perfect moment of her pure voice, singing a psalm, for my mother in the hush of a chapel.

In these awful times, I find myself angry, afraid, and aghast at the daily demise of our Democracy. Simultaneous to the present deterioration of commonly-held values, I am sincerely shocked at the extent to which people defy common sense. There is a pandemic. Nearly 100,000 people have died--parents, siblings, children, colleagues, friends, lovers. But--what--due to  ill-conceived illogical thinking and association with fear of the future, racism, zenophobia, and resentment, Americans have twisted medical advice on its head. Doctors and scientists no longer are experts. Charlatans and snake oil salesmen-like characters are the new experts. P.T. Barnum was correct.

My body is tense; my blood pressure is probably up. My mother would say, "don't let it make you sick". Easier said than done. Our country is a sad joke. I recollect Charlie Chaplin in "The Great Dictator".  I was never a chauvinist about America. However, this situation is beyond anything I could have dreamed, in a nightmare. In a seriously distorted turn, I am applying for German citizenship.

Before I go any further, I must return to softness. Pull my shoulders down, take a deep breath, and remember the unfolding of peonies, the Canada Geese that have taken over the shore of our local pond, the birdsong. Breathe again, read, and then look for the new duck couple at the fountains.

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