We Wear the Mask

Gratitude List:
1. The little goldfinch who likes to sit on rim of the window and peek inside the house.
2. I’m walking more. I am feeling stronger, more able to go the distance without getting winded. My mantra for walking and yoga this summer is limber-healthy-strong.
3. Estoy progresando en mis estudios de español. Okay, so I had to use Google Translate for a couple pieces of that, but had I seen that sentence, I would have been able to translate it into English! Yo aprendo un poco todos los dias! I wrote that one myself, so perhaps there’s an error somewhere, but I AM learning.
4. The fierce pink of those wild peas out on the bluff.
5. The daylilies are blooming in orange glory.

May we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly–in Beauty!

This feels defensive. I am open to instruction and learning.

I have had some pushback from friends on social media who say that I am shaming non-mask-wearers. I think that shame is rarely useful for long-term positive benefits, and I want to keep interrogating my actions and intentions. So yes, this Freddy Mercury thing I posted is pretty snarky. It’s also kind of funny. I guess I want to push back a little myself, at the people who are complaining about this being a restriction of their freedoms. But perhaps this isn’t the way to change hearts and minds.

Still, here I go, sharing it once again.

I have a friend who says that wearing a mask could cause her severe health problems and even death. I have not heard of that before, but I want to listen to her anxiety. She tells me that I am speaking from a position of privilege, and I want to listen to that, and challenge that within myself. She said that the conversation engendered by that post was stressing her out, and I didn’t want to add to her stress, so I am bringing it here instead.

Perhaps the perception issue here belongs to her, but perhaps I am blind to something here, and I need to keep wrangling my responses.

I feel like my relative health is a privilege, and that staying home as much as possible, and social distancing, and wearing the mask actually protects others whose health is more precarious than mine. Yes, not everyone is privileged to be able to stay home and social distance when businesses are re-opening and calling employees back to work. But wearing a mask when I am able–when I have to go out and be in the presence of those people who have to be back in the public arena–seems to be a way to lessen the burden for those folks as well.

One day, on my social media feeds, I began to see the word “hypercapnia” everywhere. People were suddenly talking about how dangerous and unhealthy it is to breathe inside a mask where you’re recycling your own CO2. And I want to be aware that this might be an issue for some people. I haven’t seen scientific and medical writing that supports this, especially for people wearing the cloth and disposable masks. Air passes through. It’s the droplets we’re concerned about, and the masks do, according to the scientists, help to mitigate the droplets. But suddenly everyone was concerned that they might be experiencing hypercapnia. Our beloveds who work in health care work for long hours in masks, and I haven’t heard about this issue before.

I’m conflicted, but not about mask-wearing. I know people who are organ transplant survivors. I know people with respiratory ailments and issues. I know people with asthma. Many of my beloveds are over the age of 65. I wear a mask in public because I want the world to be safer for them. I continue to be willing to interrogate my privilege in conversations about health and accessibility, but from every angle I look at this, I think the right thing to do (if your health allows it), for the health of ALL of us, is to WEAR THE MASK.

Here are the current CDC Guidelines for mask-wearing: CDC Guidelines.
Here is a Vox article on the World Health Organization Guidelines: WHO.
Here is an article discussing the reality of hypercapnia: Health.com.
Here is an article from NPR about how mask-wearing mitigates the effects of the virus: NPR.
Finally, an article on one more study about mask-wearing as mitigation: Pennlive.

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” —Eckhart Tolle

“We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own—indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. This will happen if we see the need to revive our sense of belonging to a larger family of life, with which we have shared our evolutionary process.” —Wangari Maathai

“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?” ―Eleanor Roosevelt

“Do you not see how everything that happens keeps on being a beginning?” —Rainer Maria Rilke

“Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space, a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in the universe. Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness but repletion A filling up.” —Anne D. LeClaire

“To me, every hour of the day and night
is an unspeakably perfect miracle. ” —Walt Whitman

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.” —Etty Hillesum

“Am I killing time, or is it killing me?” —The Middle Brother Band

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