free-writing: just another brick in the wall
I got my second shot. And no, it wasn't AstraZeneca this time. I opted for an mRNA vaccine. Given that everything is a crapshoot anyway, I decided to go with the expert recommendation currently prevalent in the country and chose a different shot to be injected into me.
I don't know what I feel about it. Sitting at the pharmacy, watching people coming in as I was waiting for my 15 minute of waiting time to get over, jab after jab after jab being given, this great human experiment of our times unfolding before my own eyes, me too a part of it all, I suppose I have finally come to terms with my true place in this world. Just another brick in the wall.
Last week, KrA had gone in for his second shot and he told me the site was set up as rows of cubicles with people waiting for and getting their shots.
So that's what we all are. Or at least that's what I think I am. A statistic. A number. A tiny proportion of whatever percentage of Ontario or Canada has been fully vaccinated.
I up my individual contribution level to the vaccination efforts given that I've opted for a mix-and-match scheme that has been deemed safe in early studies but whose long-term repercussions remain unknown. Will we grow a third eye? Or a tail? Who knows?!
On one hand, it's amazing how quickly vaccines have been produced in response to the pandemic. On the other hand, it's terrifying how little is known and how we have to take decisions based on information that keeps changing all the time.
But, I reckon, that's what life is. It's changing all the time. Even as we get lost in the day-to-day, that rug can always be pulled from under our feet. There is no such thing as security. There is no such thing as guarantee. All that we can truly attest to is what's here right now.
It is a strangely liberating realisation. To realise that as sacred as this life is, we need not attach illusions of importance to anything we do or achieve.
I'm not condoning reckless behaviour that puts ourselves or someone else in harm's way, deliberately or not.
But the very realisation that every word we utter need not be poetry, every deed we undertake need not be infused with passion or meaning, every song we utter need not even be in tune is utterly freeing.
So as I sit here, contemplating the utter irrelevance of the individual to this world at large, I am strangely reminded of a poem by Rebecca Elson titled 'Antidotes to Fear of Death'. A dear friend had forwarded this piece to me ages ago and I loved it so much I wrote it down on a piece of paper and put it up on the wall in front of my writing desk.
Antidotes to Fear of Death
by Rebecca Elson
Sometimes as an antidote
To fear of death,
I eat the stars.
Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
Til they are all, all inside me,
Pepper hot and sharp.
Sometimes, instead, I stir myself
Into a universe still young,
Still warm as blood:
No outer space, just space,
The light of all the not yet stars
Drifting like a bright mist,
And all of us, and everything
But unconstrained by form.
And sometime it’s enough
To lie down here on earth
Beside our long ancestral bones:
To walk across the cobble fields
Of our discarded skulls,
Each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
Thinking: whatever left these husks
Flew off on bright wings.
Image Attribution: Photo by note thanun on Unsplash