Featured, Human Interest, Phyllis Merriam

By Phyllis Merriam

A sharp-eyed Buzz reader noted I was misspelling the latest Covid variant: omicron is the correct spelling. It is one of the 24 letters in the Greek alphabet. My mother tutored seminary students in their required Greek and Hebrew. That’s how my parents met and wed. Unfortunately, her wizard gene for ancient languages did not get passed along. For me, omicron has the sound of “ominous” within it that I struggled to spell.

Maine cases, hospitalizations, critical care, ventilators and deaths are higher than at any point during this pandemic. Most patients are the unvaccinated perpetuating this extreme rise in cases from Thanksgiving gatherings. Delta still dominates. So far, our mid-coast hasn’t had omicron, which may just be a matter of time. Our hospitals and overworked staff are overrun with cases with some patients parked in hallways. The governor has called on the Maine Army National Guard to help.

Aroostook County has the highest covid cases per capita. Maine Health, hospitals and Maine CDC are pleading with people to get vaccinated and boostered.

Sen. Susan Collins could be a voice of reason with her fellow Aroostook constituents. Her silence is deafening. Party over public heath seems to be a Republican mantra.

800,000 Americans have died of covid in less than two years. 392,393 Americans died in WWI, WWII and Vietnam combined, according to the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Americans were astounded and decried so many deaths. The new corona virus deaths don’t seem to raise any similar alarms. Could that be because we are a youth oriented society and the majority of deaths are among those aged 65 & older?

I hadn’t seen Broken Wing for several days and wondered if she had suffered some mishap. Today, when I put out the remnants of a pot roast, she and four other crows swooped down and stuffed their beaks. Have I become fond of these crows because of covid and its isolating factors? Or are they so fascinating and intelligent they distract me from distresses in the human world?

I got up before sunrise to enjoy my first mug of coffee on the side porch. The Big Dipper has moved from resting on my neighbor’s roof to in between our homes as it gradually moves west with our earth’s rotation. By my second mug of java, the “rosy-fingered dawn,” as described in Homer’s Odyssey, made her appearance as Eos, the goddess of dawn.

I’m not a big fan of Christmas. It has evolved into mass mailings of catalogues clogging our mailbox, non-stop buying ads, Black Friday and monster Monday merchandise, and saccharine Christmas TV shows. I do like the lighted Christmas trees atop the masts of local schooners moored til spring and Rockland’s Christmas tree created with lobster traps and buoys. The upcoming holidays seem meaningless when I see news reports of the massive devastation, towns mostly destroyed, deaths and human trauma in Kentucky from tornadoes.

Writing about all this bad news just raises my anxiety. I’m taking a news diet to prepare a warm and savory soup of split peas, leeks, potatoes, carrots, celery and ham with chicken stock, fresh dill, salt and pepper and think positive thoughts.

This story was first seen in The Buzz newspaper, a media partner with Maine Coast TV. The Buzz printed version is distributed in Rockland Maine each week at these locations:

Good Tern Co-op • Dunkin’ Donuts • Jensen’s Pharmacy

Rock City Cafe • Southend Grocery

The Buzz online version is available each Friday at www.TheBuzz.me.

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