Demeter, the nurturer and caretaker in us, often wears her heart on her sleeve.

Our village is beginning to wake up after the strong presence of the corona virus restrictions. I haven’t been into town to browse the shops for months. I’ve missed feeling the textures of fabrics, being stimulated by new colors – but most of all I value the exchanges with the shop keepers I’ve known for many years. How have they been? What have they been through with the pressures they’ve had to endure? Are they keeping themselves safe as we all open up and turn toward one another again?

Masks continue to be worn, safe distancing is in effect, and two other women were with me in a store yesterday. I heard one of them say she’s a nurse, a black woman. I took a risk and followed her out to the sidewalk, wanting to know how she was managing in her work. I opened by sharing that my daughter (of whom I am soooo proud) had just started her first nursing job at our local hospice, and expressed my concerns about her being on the front line as a newbie at this time. Then, bursting into tears, I asked how her heartspace was holding up with the recent murder of George Floyd? I had been crying for a week over this current state of affairs, and the idea that yet another white policeman felt he was justified in taking a black man’s life. Outrageous! The betrayal is so raw and reflects the tremendous divide among some of us.

Moving in and out of tears, we talked for half an hour, questioning and exploring. People stepped around us in understanding, as though ours was a very normal scene for these times. On parting, she said that this is what is needed – more sharing across the black/white divide. And I said that this meeting of the hearts was the unexpected real reason why I finally ventured forth into town on this particular day, at this particular moment.

I’m glad my Demeter energy held sway. She feels filled up today. It’s easier to give when our cup runs over. Demeter is not for women only. Strong men can find that nurturing space in them too. A grandson who lives in the city has made up kits – a water bottle and a mask. He keeps them in his car to give to homeless people he encounters while driving around. We’ll get through this together…

Painting and essay by Lianne Escher.

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