It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change~Charles Darwin
This week for LAPC #124, Amy challenges us to show how our perspectives have changed during the pandemic or at another point in time.
Needless to say, this year has been a year of tremendous upheaval in our world. It feels like we’re living in Old Testament times with plagues, war, pestilence, fire, civil unrest, and floods threatening our civilization. Still, as Darwin reminds us, our survival depends on our adaptability.
The changes in my life have been dramatic. As you probably know, we ended our nomadic life as the pandemic spread around the globe and put down roots in New England. This required a mental shift from an international explorer mindset …
…to a local one. We’ve had fun exploring the Portsmouth community and visiting the sites in our area. Here’s a look at the Portland Bug Light, a diminutive lighthouse modeled after a classic Roman temple. If you look closely, you’ll notice a fellow wearing shorts in this image. Rich and I have a running joke that we always see at least one person every day who’s wearing shorts regardless of the temperature. It must be a custom here to defy the weather.
Like many people, I’m doing most of my traveling online. Instead of researching new places to visit and new food to try as we travel, I’m doing political, historical, and cultural research for my novel. I discovered an interesting fact while doing research on the Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants in Boston in the 1930s and 1940s .
In some churches in the North End of Boston, you will find two places to worship–one on the main floor, which is often very elaborate, and another in the basement, which is very plain. The reason underscores the impact of prejudice. In the early 1900’s, the established Catholic groups in the city who had emigrated from England and Ireland were resisting the changing demographic as new immigrant groups settled in the city. This was evident even in their churches. Italian immigrants were relegated to the basement, which they converted into their own humble places of worship. Here’s a statue from the basement sanctuary in the Sacred Heart Church in the North End.
We have also adapted to the quarantine restrictions and are following public health advice, by relying on web conferencing instead of visiting friends and family in person. Like many of you, we exchange virtual hugs and news on Zoom, Google Hangouts, and WhatsApp with our close friends and dear relatives. But of course, we still miss our real life visits to people and places. I hope some day we can visit our relatives in New York City and experience once again the vitality of street life– like this chess match captured in Union Square Park. (Don’t you love the bucket of candy under the table?)
I’m still dreaming of the excellent meals we’ve had during our travels, like this pizza from Pizzaiolo in Florence. (Yes, it tastes as good as it looks.). I’m hoping to revisit this wonderful place and sit elbow to elbow with fellow pizza fans, drinking wine and chatting. But for now, I’ve unpacked my cookbooks and I’m trying old and new recipes. I’ve even taken a virtual cooking class on making pizza. (Full disclosure: The folks at Pizzaiolo don’t need to worry about me stealing away any of their customers.)
At times, the changes in our lives seem overwhelming. It’s easy to resent all the restrictions and complications. But I remind myself (sometimes hourly) that change is often painful and never easy. It’s also necessary since our very health and wellbeing depend on it–not only for our personal health, but for the health of our planet. So, instead of looking back in anger, regret or sadness, I’ll look ahead to a future that’s already unfolding before our eyes.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who are celebrating this week. And thanks to all of you who shared photos of your neighborhood in last week’s challenges. I loved the glimpses of these places near your home. You’ve given me some great ideas of places to visit when we can travel again.
In closing, once again I’m sending my heart-felt thanks to all of you in our creative community for your continued participation, support, enthusiasm, and creativity. You always inspire us and cheer us on! I hope you have a wonderful, creative week and please stay safe.