How to empty a cup (di Michael K. Gause)

“10 years.”


“Yeah, they’re from my mom’s house, and she got them ten years ago. Brandywine heirlooms.”

“And they’re?…”

“Yeah, their sprouting!”

That was a few days ago sitting at the dining room table drinking coffee, as my wife tells me about what she’s planting in the window, and I smile with hope.

And it is hope that I need. The days are just getting stranger by the hour. What started as something on the news has, in the last few weeks, sprouted into ominous mandates reaching us with our heads cocked like dogs. Be more careful around your neighbors. Don’t gather. Wear masks. Stay home. No, really, stay home. Curiosity passed through us like a stage of grief, replaced with palpable fear. Death tolls rising along with pangs in the pit of our collective stomachs. Weeks ago I was in able to enjoy the regular gathering of loved ones. One month later, I feel like I am in a new blend of Cloverfield 2 and A Quiet Place. I know it has only been a month, but the air already feels different, as reports stockpile numbers and the collective mood of the county seems to mimic the colors of evening – white to blonde to burgundy.

It is April 12, and only now does it seem we are able to see the size of this thing. The sirens rang out, and we responded. We’re in the root cellars. We are feeling the cramp of our tailored confinements. The virus feels like a storm whipping around our houses, looking for a way in. It is carried by the very people we are missing (add Invasion of the Body Snatchers to the list). Loved ones as oblivious Trojan horses. We are doing our best to count our blessings and quietly hope it didn’t sneak inside before lockdown.

“So, how are they doing?”

“Oh, I meant to tell you. I was looking at the wrong spot. Yeah, they’re dead.


Were you going to put that in your blog?”

“Yeah. I was going to use it as a metaphor for dormancy, not death. So much for that.”

The day she told me about mistaking the seeds, I also heard something like 18 months before we start to come out of this thing. Those two things together touched something deep in my core. You see, until now, I have refused to see this situation as more than a blip, a dormant period not unlike the potential of plants, that we simply need to wait out and reactivate. But news from the world regarding this virus is finally marginalizing the ad copy spewed by our Commander in Chief. This is no blip. Not on the outside, nor the inside.

I see this a nothing short of a Hegelian dialectic shaking up the system. Simply stated: There is no going back. The old way of life as we know it has crashed with this devastating force. It is Antithesis. What comes next cannot be what was. It will be something new. I will be a Synthesis.

And I think it hurts, because this sudden evolution feels like mutation.

For while this virus spreads through our cities, towns, and neighborhoods, there is, at the same time, something making its way through all of us, not only those infected with the virus proper. We are undergoing a change – choking parts of us and feeding others, shaping not only how we are living but how we perceive this life. And that perception is as unique as a relationship with your god. We are being forced to change, and we are scared what our next state of being will look like.

So, just as I see that those seeds are doornail dead, so do I now acknowledge the passing of the known past. Let’s have a wake and do it right. Let’s rail and grieve in equal measure. Let’s also open ourselves up to the belief that all that has come before, all that has led to and caused this strange reality, has also somehow prepared us for it. If we can flow with the change and neither deny nor fight it, infuse it with who we are and what we want, I firmly believe that it is then that we take our rightful place as active partners in creating what we will laugh with on the other side.


In light of new beginnings, here’s How To Empty A Cup by Danny Scott Lane. As always, I encourage you to visit the artist’s Bandcamp site and purchase the album. I have.


( (di Michael K. Gause)

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