If coronavirus and some dog of war do not intervene, I will be headed south in two weeks to visit some dear friends in Savannah, GA. Down there—to judge by their photographs of a lush backyard …
If coronavirus and some dog of war do not intervene, I will be headed south in two weeks to visit some dear friends in Savannah, GA. Down there—to judge by their photographs of a lush backyard garden, tufted sand dunes and sweeping vistas of the seaboard Atlantic—the blooms of spring are already off the bough. It will be great to drift away for a bit from the rigors of small business ownership and the icy northern winter. With only one or two exceptions, it’s been three years since I last left Smallwood for regions farther away than the Delaware. Time to pack my bags.
Although the virus is still with us and still killing almost 2,000 people each day (mostly the aging, the unvaccinated or those with other co-morbidities), masking mandates are toppling on every side now across the nation. So, the news here that NYS will drop its mask mandate for schools starting March 2nd, 2022. Perhaps you feel as I do, that the masks were both a necessary “good” and a necessary “evil” during the past two years. What a relief to finally move around in public more often without having to wear one. And all the strangers’ and friends’ full faces again, and their smiles! It is, after two long years, a lifting cloud.
As fast as one world crisis begins to subside, another rears its ugly head: the invasion of The Ukraine ordered by Vladimir Putin. Those of us who live in Mongaup Valley and especially in Smallwood all know so many wonderful Russian and Ukrainian families here. (I often feel we’re living in a forested datscha colony.) Everyone is anguished and heartsick about the cruel invasion and worried that its “mastermind” may in fact have more grandiose plans than ‘just’ sacking The Ukraine. Putin’s playbook is to gut the critical infrastructure of his smaller neighbor, scatter its population, and wither all Ukrainian hopes for a flourishing democratic future in the EU. Putin imagines himself standing—the peacock-phoenix, rustling his fan of imperial feathers—atop the smoking ruins of The Ukraine. He’ll present himself then as the only figure capable of restoring the country that he just dismembered. He will rebuild it in Russia’s image.
What can we do here to offer immediate material and moral help? My friend Oksana wrote via Facebook today of several ways we can start to help. Please go to StopwarinUkraine.com to find a variety of vetted organizations helping Ukrainian refugees forced out of their homes and The Ukraine in general. Please give your financial and moral support to these organizations. There are also online forms by which you can write to your state and federal officials demanding help flow NOW to The Ukraine to stanch the developing catastrophe. Please get involved to the extent you are able; I will, and I will get my friends involved, too, far and wide. –
A note to members of the Smallwood Civic Association (SWCA) that the SWCA Board will be sending you some important email and snail mail soon. Please keep your eyes open for those communications! Be well.
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