Pandemic Pivot

Moon at Dawn, Aug. 7, 2020

Iowa has been slow in containing the coronavirus pandemic.

Last night the president said during a press conference the virus will just go away. The Iowa Governor released an “Open Letter to Iowans on COVID-19” earlier in the afternoon, in which she said, “But normal during a pandemic isn’t the same normal as before. COVID-19 is still a reality, and circumstances still demand we do everything within our control to contain and manage it.”

While Kim Reynolds’ response to the pandemic fell short of expectations she’s at least pretending to be a leader. There is plenty about which to criticize her, yet her response is better than that COVID-19 is going to magically disappear.

After declaration of an emergency on March 9, an unwanted retirement on April 28, and Thursday’s approval of a face covering regulation by the county board of supervisors, it seems like the pandemic is only just beginning.

We Americans have been bad at preventing mass infections and deaths related to the coronavirus. This trait of our national character ranks right up there with yeoman farmer, chattel slavery, indentured servitude, genocide of the natives, and exploitation of the environment. It weighs heavy on the scale of justice when we consider the many good things our country does.

Like many, after an initial reaction to the coronavirus I’m reinventing myself for the future and that includes how I write in this space.

Old categories no longer seem relevant. I use the word “category” both as an organizer on this blog, but more generally in life. The top ten categories with the number of posts in parentheses tells a story:

Politics (435)
Local Food (311)
Garden (299)
Home Life (277)
Writing (276)
Environment (247)
Worklife (166)
Social Commentary (149)
Cooking (129)
Farming (83)

Even these ten seem like too many as I pivot through the pandemic.

I created the current blog in December 2008. With tens of millions of bloggers, I felt support for the WordPress platform would be better than Blogger which I began using in November 2007. I didn’t think much about how to organize the writing.

After my July 2009 retirement from transportation and logistics I settled into the pattern that resulted in this categorical breakdown. The adjustment now is to distill these categories. Here is my thinking: I find four categories of life worth living.

I define myself as a writer so the first category is Writing. That includes posts about writing like this one, but also excerpts from other writing I’m working on, including autobiographical work.

My posts about cooking, gardening, farming and local food have been popular. Using an integrated approach, I created a new category to be used going forward: Kitchen Garden. This category is designed to discuss every aspect of putting meals on our home table.

When I post about a political event few others are, it gets a lot of views. Politics is much broader than election and government, and includes most aspects of our lives. For the time being I will use the broader category Life in Society. Some of the previous categories will continue to exist but won’t be used.

Finally, my work with others includes mitigating the existential threats posed by nuclear weapons, climate change and conflicts in the form of war and social injustice. This specialized work merits its own category: Sustainability.

Who knew the pivot point of the coronavirus pandemic would be toward fewer categories? I’m sure it is the first of many adjustments we’ll make going forward.