Written by Carolyn Kulik, published in The Charlotte News.
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
“Pandemic” by Lynn Ungar, 3/11/20
As you can see, this issue of The Charlotte News has the Summer Schedule insert for the months of June, July and August. It does not reflect the “new normal”—because that is something that has yet to be established. Senior centers throughout the state are anxiously waiting to learn what date they can open, what activities will be allowed, and what the maximum number of participants permitted inside will be. One mandated change will be temperature taking (forehead) and the recording of visitors’ names for contact tracing—if any is needed. Under consideration is what activities would allow for low attendance numbers and also social distancing. Outdoor activities are likely to get the green light, but the Birding Expedition with Hank Kaestner on June 10 is not likely to be approved because it is before the mid-June opening date that the state has announced. In addition, there will be special guidelines for those over 65 or with underlying health conditions, which could result in re-opening delays. Of course, as time goes on and the weather gets nicer and nicer, it is harder than ever to be patient. But the stakes are high and forbearance is an essential virtue.
The Wednesday events which take place at 1 p.m. will be continuing with – or without – an audience. Most likely, a very limited number of attendees will be allowed, so registration in advance will be necessary every week up to the cutoff number. So, the planned events will go forward and will be videoed with a Zoom link posted to our website for those not able to attend.
Because of the uncertainty regarding opening guidelines, there are no events in June. The first Wednesday event this summer will be 7/1 on COVID-19: What We Know – What We Have Yet To Learn – Where Are We Likely Headed with Jim Hyde. Jim is an Emeritus Professor of Public Health at the Tufts University School of Medicine and former Director of Preventative Medicine at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. (More about Jim and this event in a future issue of this paper.)
For a complete change of pace, on 7/8 at 1 p.m. will be Music ~ Marty Morrisey, Robert Resnik and Patti Shannon performing folk, country and original tunes from Vermont, Ireland and around the United States on a variety of instruments. Marty has been coming to CSC pretty much since it opened in 2002. He has also been known as the organizer of hikes in the spring and fall, which he started doing in 2006. Not long after that, he began studying T’ai Chi here, and for about eight years has been the leader of T’ai Chi Advanced Practice on Thursdays. What people may not know about him is that long, long before his career as a musician, he was an uninspired student who became intrigued with the world of printing; awards and recognition followed. Much later, he used his degree in print production management and his training as a linotype operator at George Little Press – where he worked as a supervisor for twenty-five years. Of course, that is most – but not all – of his story.
In addition to the 1 p.m. events, there are also two courses scheduled on Wednesdays: Essentrics™ with Sherry Senior at 8:30 a.m. and Mindfulness with Jill Abilock at 2:30. These have been reconfigured as Zoom courses, and they both work surprisingly well – especially considering that one is exercise and the other is meditation. Depending on what the restrictions are regarding re-opening the Center, both of these are set to continue as Zoom classes, if necessary.
It almost goes without saying that the Senior Center is full of folks with engaging backgrounds and broad life experiences. Jill, for example, has been practicing Mindfulness for thirty years – with twenty as a trained facilitator. She is a certified end-of-life doula, has been a hospice volunteer for five years, and describes herself as a ‘spiritual caregiver.’ She is also a book artist and works in mixed media. Did I mention that she lived in Japan for 12 years and worked as a translator for twenty-five? And that is most – but not all – of her story.
Please don’t forget that our Blood Drive is Thurs., 6/11, from 2:00-7:00 at the Senior Center, although the building is closed for other activities. If you wish to donate blood please go to RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. Peggy Sharpe, the Senior Center’s volunteer coordinator is collaborating this event with Charlotte Fire and Rescue. If you have any questions, you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message for her on the Senior Center’s number: 425-6345.
The Zoom classes will continue as long as the Senior Center is closed – or as long as gatherings for those particular activities are restricted by the state. In the meanwhile, please check out the ongoing Zoom classes on the website – you are welcome to join at any time. And there may be more Zoom classes coming. Honestly, the technology is pretty easy and the rewards are worth the minimal effort. You, too, can Zoom! Please visit Online Zoom Classes for additional information about the Senior Center, course descriptions, payment and reduced fees.
Announcements regarding the re-opening of the Senior Center will be announced here, on Front Porch Forum, on the telephone message of the Center, and in this paper. We are still at the hurry-up-and-wait stage. Maybe soon – but not yet. It is good to know that the Senior Center is important to so many people – and it is hard at the same time. Everybody misses everybody! The empty building is. Really. Empty.
The Senior Center’s mission is to serve those 50 and up. Residents from other communities are always welcome. There are no membership fees. Feel free to leave a message on the Center number anytime: 425-6345; voicemail will be checked daily.
Be careful. Stay well. But mostly, be kind.