Shadows of WinterRick Sanders
This the second post in our series called “Connection Reflections.” We hope these messages will warm your heart and make you smile during these times of “distancing.”
Guest Post by author, artist, and teacher Rick Sanders
I’ve been told that March is a fickle month here in Tennessee. It can’t figure out if it’s winter or spring. On this day in mid-March, it was both. The day started off warm and sunny, full of promise. By late afternoon it was cold, gray, and windy.
My wife and I needed to get outside for a while, so we took a stroll across the Walking Bridge that spans the Tennessee River, and over to the north side of town. We were two of a small number of people who were out and about. We passed the time staring into the windows of what were once thriving businesses. What stared back at us was dark emptiness and silence. The term “ghost town” came to mind, but there were no ghosts to be found—only people shuffling slowly along the cold sidewalks. It seemed like there were more homeless people on the streets, but that’s only because all the people who had homes were already there. Some stores were open for limited hours, only allowing a handful of customers in at a time. Many businesses looked like they expected to just go under—their floors were littered with half-full cardboard packing boxes. My depression about the situation outweighed my fear, and, sadly, that’s a good thing.
I grew up in Baltimore. That’s the place where the boys at Ft. McHenry repelled the British because they favored rum and beer over hot tea. They were brave, but mostly they had purpose.
Chattanoogans have the same steely resolve about repelling this damn virus. We’re observing social distance here, for sure. But we are also living our lives. There are no cannons or sabers. Only hope.
So tomorrow we’ll all wake up and start another day, either in our homes or in a hospital. Or on a lonely park bench. And we will go about our days the best we can, not alone, but with each other. We’ve been through hell before, and we always came out the other side stronger, smarter, and more united—and we will again.
Shadows of winter, but signs of spring.
Rick is the author of Strange Times in Yeehaw Junction, The Walking Bridge, and The Darkest Place. All can be purchased here on this site or at your favorite book retailer, in both print and digital formats.