And It's High Tide in America
In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face
I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there, other times it's only me
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand
-- Bob Dylan, "Every Grain of Sand"
West End Avenue is deafeningly silent early this morning as the curfew has curtailed most car traffic south of 96th Street. It's a street I recognize less and less yet one that I've come to know deeply. I find myself studying it. Each bird chirping. Each passerby. Each delivery truck. Each siren. Each neighbor at his or her window in my sightlines. All targets of my gaze in a way I have never gazed before.
Looking out my window in sleepy Bloomingdale all day today I perceived a strange vibrato. Tension thick in the air. Anticipation. Trepidation. And the gaze from apartment to street of all these neighbors still cooped up is one of watchful, worried eyes. The First Wave scarcely receded, the Second Wave is roiling and swiftly rolling in.
But I am not talking about the virus. Like a Rube Goldbergian contraption, infection has become the vector of infection. Instead of picking up with some semblance of normalcy coming off the first wave of coronavirus, we are now again waist deep in. Begat by the first wave but not precisely in its own image, the Second Wave of which I speak looks and feels very much like a growing revolution, where people the city over -- the country and the world over -- have been swept up as it crests.
Chalked on sidewalks, hung from windows, held up in protest posters each day at 1pm in Straus Park, called out by peaceful congregants making their noontime way down Broadway, the revolution beckons: manifest in support of justice for all, manifest in opposition to police brutality, manifest in acknowledgment of the grotesque and disproportionate toll Covid-19 has had on people of color.
The solidarity of the Second Wave equals that of the first, but its fury surpasses it. Both share uncharted waters, unpredictable consequences, unimaginable cost, unfathomable pain.
Experts tell us that there will be another wave of viral infections. But they didn't tell us that our social isolation would finally make us immune to complacency and catapult us into the work we must now do.
I'm still too jaded to believe that in corona there could be salvation. But at a minimum there is transformation. And we are most definitely not coming out of this the same. Prepare ye.