Now is not the time to come together, at least physically, as playful communities but to practice "social distancing".This "social distancing" is a unpoetic term and sounds like the opposite of community but it isn't: It is really the type of community that is needed at this time: a vigil, a withdrawal, the deep connection with slowness, listening, groundedness and the earth we may need...
As David Whyte says:
"Withdrawal can be a positive way of stepping forward and done well, a beautiful freeing act of mercy and as a human behavioral art form, underestimated in this time of action and engagement. So much of what we are involved with, in even the highest cause, becomes involvement at the busy periphery, where the central conversation has been lost to the outer edges of what was to begin with, a very simple central invitation. Withdrawal is often not what it looks like – a disappearance – no, to withdraw from entanglement can be to appear again in the world in a very real way and begin the process of renewing the primary, essential invitation again.
Though life does seem determined to be a beautiful, and entrancing distraction – just as we ourselves are a distraction to others, testing them as we test ourselves and our mutual sincerity – our participation in this dance of distraction also makes more real, and more necessary, our ability to return to essential ground, to an essential person or an essential work."
There will come a time to gather and dance, hug and play. This isn't such a time. To come together as a community in groups now means inadvertently killing the most vulnerable and infirm. The most vulnerable suffer the most from this. Later will be a time for coming together, laughing and celebrating
The virus travelled through our modern globalised travel system: its deeper earth based message may be to stop, slow down, listen more, stop business as usual, go deeper and get involved in degrowth and the local, at present this means to practice a kind of withdrawal
Sometimes it seems as if there are two distinct groups: rationalists who are looking at the pragmatic scientifically-informed steps we need to deal with the virus and spiritual and animist folk who are looking at its deeper earth based dreaming message. But really there is no such dichotomy
The virus's deeper earth based message and the pragmatic actions we need to take are the same: to slow down, be seperate for a while physically, travel less, stop, feel and sense more, withdraw and listen. This doesn't mean to isolate totally and certainly not to panic: It can also mean getting involved in mutual aid to help the vulnerable ( whilst avoiding infecting them) and bioregional regeneration.
This is good for humans and other earth dwellers: China and other country's actions to contain the virus, actually effectively saved human lives, and ALSO massively reduced carbon emissions for the first time in decades.
Disaster capitalists like Boris Johnson want us to continue with economic growth and continue to gather together and party together, maximising human and more-than human death at this time, as if in some insane and ecocidal dance of death: an enormous exchange of money for people's lives
But the message of some of the earth based river gods, ancient bat gods and snake gods that need to be fed is curiously similar to some of our more rational perspectives. It may be that this isn't a time to gather, but to slow economic growth, to serve community through withdrawing and rooting deeper rooting in the earth.