Migration in the Age of COVID

I drive out of New Jersey November 2020
My migration south has begun
The Rav4 is packed tight top to bottom
My cat Tessa lays curled inside a travel crate
She is not eager to leave her warm bed
But she has no say in the matter
Once a fearless hunter of small animals
She now lays passive, unsure of my purpose
We seem to be of one mind on that topic

Two winters on a farm with ducks and chickens
I publish a book of songs, poems, and stories
A boxed set of self-inquiry mandala cards
I make plans to buy an RV and hit the road
Introduce my books and cards at yoga studios
Then COVID migrates to America’s shores
Landing in my backyard shifting plans, dreams
Spring, then summer comes and goes
I share stories and tell the ducks my dreams

October arrives with COVID still active
Time to pack and brave the journey
A strong north wind blows a warning
In a field of gold and purple wildflowers
I feel the arctic chill beginning to form
If I stay here, the winter will break my spirit
Already a vast migration is crossing America
From north, south, east, and west, they travel
All headed to an easy life in the tropical sun

I pack, move treasures to storage, say goodbye
I announce the Mindful Mandala World Tour
Six workshops done, my story told, cards shared
Women recognize dark emotions as they rise
Out of despair into hope, from sadness to joy
St. Francis’s prayer evident as my life purpose
Across centuries his words tap into my heart
Reveal ancient wisdom with a new understanding

My oldest friend expects me by week’s end
First, a few stops to make before Christmas
I steer clear of crowded rest stops, wash hands
Drive through the day, become lost on back roads
Stop in Virginia, where Trump-Pence signs linger
Strangers are cautious, wear masks, won’t hug
No protocol for guests in their sterilized home
Unable to offend in the face of a raging pandemic

And so begins, In the Age of COVID, a series of observations and stories.