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May 17, 2021

By Arthur H. Gunther III



In the virus time many have found the slower pace and solitude that eluded them in the ordinary hustle-bustle of making a living, holding things together, joining the masses on the ever-more-crowded commuter highway. Not exactly lemmings to the sea, but a march nonetheless.

The synonym for such is “progress,” which means two steps and one step back. There are sacrifices.

In this pandemic, in the stay-at-home months, sitting at computer and Zooming our work hours sitting in casual dress, children “going to class” in the same manner, there also have been the many minutes, then hours where individuals found sanctuary, even that small corner of the attic or basement where we could escape the others, who also wanted to escape us. Close living can be too close.

If we have been lucky, there have been rooms dedicated to sanctuary, maybe a small at-home library where our friends can be books or magazines or newspapers or iPads or laptops. Or nothing but a soft light, a comfortable chair and absolute quiet. Time to think, time not to think at all.

Many lessons will be noted, hopefully taken, in this time of virus: vastly better preparation for the next health crisis; new ways of educating, including virtual; more at-home office work rather than hustling off daily to cubicles; the need to slow down to save the soul.

History moves in dynamics — war, depression, plague. The horrors of all that also bring chances to have those times not happen again. That would be the real “progress.”

Perhaps in those quiet moments in our individual sanctuaries of the virus time, the seeds of that commonsense have sprouted. Solitude (not loneliness) can also be progress.

The writer is a retired newspaperman.