Editor’s Note: A Higher Perspective

Has your energy been flagging lately? You’re not alone. No matter where you stand, it’s probably with a bit of a slump. Even the adrenaline that carried us through the initial fight of this virus – and then each other – is waning. If this is a war, it sure feels like we’re losing to this common viral enemy – all of us, no matter what side of the mask debate we’re on.

Here in our office, it’s not as bad for me as it probably is for everyone else. I had not developed the habits and codependencies that result from spending 40 hours a week with the same group of people for years. I arrived with the pandemic – no relation – a few weeks after my coworkers began working from home. 

But I do remember what it’s like from my past workplaces. At a newspaper, that means riding the deadline wave together. We’ve done that for months now via Slack and there’s still plenty of energy, but I do long for the real thing.

We are a handful who are regularly in our office. We’re socially distanced, so casual conversations don’t just arise organically. If you do walk across the room specifically to chat, it can feel like an aggressive move. 

Then there are the masks. If you do hazard that conversational advance, standing many feet away, you pretend you’ve heard because you’re tired of saying “What?” all the time. In short, I, like everyone else, just want it all to end. 

What makes it all so draining is that there is no end in sight. It’s the kind of thing that makes me want to get my pilot’s license. What I love most about flying – what I miss most about flying – is gaining that above-the-clouds perspective. In the muffled, recirculated air of a plane that’s slicing through clouds and rays of sunshine, the Earth below appears exactly as it is: vast and beautiful. I can watch, listen and be silent, allowing rapture and joy to fill my mind with ease. 

From up there, it’s hard to believe the Earth below nurtures a species that’s forced or incited or drawn to battle. A species that aims hate, guns and words, all to injure and kill. I can’t see from that height the two major political parties prying open the divide that now separates us. Each pulls one side of the chasm to an opposite direction as if we’re all just a bunch of lemmings who will eventually fall in from our own momentum, or gravity. The chasm has grown just that damn big and wide.

An antidote, a survival mechanism, a way to always see the beauty of this wonderful spit of land we live upon, is to pretend each day that we’re disembarking from that plane with the privilege of having that higher perspective. Each day upon awakening, we can do this and act differently. 

This will take maybe even more than a little bit of “fake it till you make it.” If we can’t understand, we just do understand and remain silent. If we can’t say something positive, we just do say something positive and remain silent. Most important of all, perhaps, is being attentive to that silence and hearing what it’s actually telling us about ourselves.