Like the bunch of animals on Noah’s ark forced to partner up and race to save ourselves from some impending doom we didn’t understand, it’s been 40 days and 40 nights of sheltering in place. With very little time to gather necessities, we grabbed what we had and hoped for the best, jostling to find the smartest and safest place to ride out the storm. We waited for information, looked to the divine and wondered what transgression had been so vile as to bring about such wrath? Looking to the heavens we screamed out, “What the heck just happened and why are we all on this massive boat together?”
In the beginning, we worked together to raise spirits. We sang songs, we shared troughs of food and wine, played games and shared stories. In it together, we stiffened our lips, buried our fear, strengthened our defenses and hunkered down. For a little while, we were able to tamp down the fear, make the best of our situations, and find the silver linings. But, somewhere along the journey, the skies got darker, the seas swelled, then turned downright angry. Several of us started to look a bit green, to take on a donkey like smell, and to become drastically less interesting. Hearing one another’s voices raised in joyous, harmonious song, once soothing and unifying, now sounded more like braying, neighing, mooing and barking, making it feel more like morning-after memories of a tequila soddened night at a dingy karaoke joint. Our efforts to put a positive spin on events turned into an effort to get through the next day.
And the blasted rains just keep coming. We try to take some air, to stroll the decks, to look for some light on the horizon, but cold, raw winds force us back inside, wet, cold, cranky and tracking mud. Bored with our domesticated animals, and of participating in the typical daily routines of eating, sleeping and meowing, we seek out the exotic; the untried, the never tasted. We attempt to make our stalls cleaner, newer, and prettier, but most of us leave detritus strewn about as a lion leaves a deer carcas. We add generously and, often guiltily, to our daily diets of hay and grain, filling our feed buckets with epic fails of breads that never rose, cans of leftover chocolate icing and the ever satisfying cheese puff. Demoralized, depressed and bereft, we feast anyway, knowing only a whole cow will be enough to fill the ever deepening hole. Our manes are unruly, or hoofs filled with mud, our claws grow to grizzly bear proportions and our coats are mangy. The early days when tigers, roosters, goats and squirrels all met to commiserate; share common fears, meals and stories, turned into power struggles where tigers blamed goats, and roosters knew it was all the squirrels’ fault. And still, we remain on the ark.
Some are thriving. The silver fox, glossy and sleek, stays upbeat and content to stalk alone. Several donkeys gather daily to play silly games and bray in unison. A group of owls hides in the rafters hooting to each other and reveling in the dark and safety of the space.The oxen rest, free from the yoke of the fields, and the elephants and hippos, unique and special creatures, can stay safe from poachers, able to roam the ark in peace. The doves join together to help the sick and dying, the pigeons send messages back and forth and horses help to move supplies. Birds of all varieties of tones and songs, continue to sing and to soothe. And still, we remain on the ark.
Waiting. Forty days and forty nights…very soon to become forty-one.
Hey, Noah, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get off of this ark.