by Anne Hinton
The threads of Covid reach us even here
and when we pass our fellow hikers we choreograph a dance of masks and distance.
The chipmunks on this mountain, however, don’t know or care that the humans are having a pandemic.
Neither do I when I climb this ridge and turn off thought to become lungs and heart and muscle.
When I step aside for Covid it is just a moment compared to the endless flood of beauty around me.
And I don’t mean only that which is alive and verdant… even the dead white trees hosting wreaths of moss reassure me that things will be okay.
But what will happen when winter comes and Santa Fe Baldie is covered in snow that shifts and sinks?
And the Rio grande sprays out ice and doesn’t want me?
On which altar of awe and belonging can I burn up both my personal hurt and other’s pain?
I don’t want to be a winter person or a Covid-person or indeed a mortal one but my world asks me to be all of these.
I don’t want to. I don’t want to. I don’t want to.
But there is no answer and hasn’t this always been our choice?
All of ours, regardless of the assaults we face
keep going as long as we can,
Or choose to leave over all we do not want.
And so going into this Covid winter let us choreograph kindness into this dance.
For divinity is another thread we share and radical love is its sun of awe and belonging.
Anne Hinton has been a Physician Assistant for the last 15 years working in HIV care in Brooklyn, NY, and more recently in Primary Care in Santa Fe, NM. She prides herself on being a health care provider who listens and takes her time to actually see the person in her office but she hasn’t completely figured out how to balance this with the demands of schedules and insurance reimbursements or with self care needs like eating lunch and sleeping. She is interested in the Social Epidemiology of illness and believes that the most powerful medicines available to her are often kindness and connection. She grew up as a Christian Missionary kid in Nairobi, Kenya, and after unravelling the intricacies of her own beliefs she finds the most spiritual fulfillment in nature, especially New Mexico’s mountains, rivers and cottonwood trees. She is a mother of two amazing children who deeply teach, delight, and challenge her.