We are two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, and while it is hard not to think of it as a plague, its serious nature has been affecting our society. I’ve come to think about covid and its variants as outlaws from nature.

There have been hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths, and the ensuing collateral damage of “youth mental health crises” and an alarming increase in suicide attempts due to isolation, anxiety, and depression. This is something I have previously covered in one of my previous blog posts.

And the hardest part to contend with hasn’t been the direct effects of the pandemic, rather the political polarization resulting in vaccinations. NPR ran a story this past weekend in which an adult man from Missouri said he would have gotten vaccinated, but now that the government was insisting everyone get it, he wasn’t going to anymore. Interesting when you consider that if you were in George Washington’s army, you saluted and were inoculated for smallpox.

Outlaws from nature and what it teaches us

This brings me to the other ensuing part of our current plague, that of self-centeredness. There is a cult of “liberty” and “freedom” that celebrates millions of anti-vaxxers under the premise that they have the right to choose what to do with their bodies. Ironic, when you consider this same cult opposes women’s rights on abortion.

But more insidious is the “freedom of choice” they espouse, which is the freedom to infect you and millions of others. They are choosing to be a vector for more and more variants, allowing themselves to be a playground for the virus to replicate itself in all kinds of creative ways. Last week, Delta. This week Omicron, and what Greek letter is next and next after that?

But here is a fundamental biological fact: nothing in nature exists independently. We are all inextricably linked in a web of life. A culture that is based on reverence for independence, is quite literally violating the laws of nature, an Outlaw culture. And Nature will always win. Or as a colleague said, “the laws of Physics and the laws of commerce are diverging, and the laws of Physics aren’t gonna change anytime soon. Gravity is not just a good idea, it’s the law.” We violate the laws of Nature at our peril.

Our culture, our commerce, our lack of community has done and continues to do huge damage to the planet, count Climate Change as only one of numerous crises we’ve cultivated. Sure, planet Earth would be better off with a 2.0 version of us. But, and it’s a big “but,” then I think of my kids and their friends, on the cusp of 20. Ready to soar, and soaring, then having Covid clip their wings over and over. I think of our grandkids one and three and five. Their cherubic faces. Learning to walk and ride bikes with glee with their whole lives ahead of them. What kind of lives will those be?

As we say in ShadowWork, the purpose of healthy anger is to take action in service of positive change. To set a Momma Bear boundary in service of life. To stay awake, alert, and ready to pounce when the right thing to do presents itself. Now, and now, and now.