COVID-19- To Isolate or Not Isolate, is that a question?

I was thinking about those who have relatives and friends that are not taking this coronavirus COVID 19 pandemic seriously. They think it’s just media hype or they say stuff like, ‘I never get sick’. Let’s look first at ‘I never get sick’. There is always the first time and my question to that person is ‘Would you want the very first time you get sick, be the one time that kills you?’ (barring people who are suicidal and have just given up, or those who believe this is the end of the world or have mental conditions?) And worse, not only if it kills you, it’s one of the most horrific ways to die. Sure there’s been many people who have successfully gotten through it, and that is definitely something to have much happiness and gratitude for. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

Suppose this virus is real, to be taken seriously, and you start feeling something. You don’t suspect the virus, because, well you never get sick or it’s all hype. Now you go to the hospital, something is definitely going on, you are finding it hard to breathe. They test you and say you have COVID-19. No big deal, a lot of people come through this fine….ok, but now you have high temperature, your coughing, bluish face and lips, confusion, it becomes extremely difficult even painful to breathe. You need something to ease the extremely uncomfortable pressure that is overwhelmingly building in your chest. A respirator would help, yes. (that’s if your hospital has enough and are not in triage mode) Yeah, so? Ok…., what does that feel like? Needing to breathe? Try holding your breath for 4 minutes. Most people can’t do that. Really try……. Now the knee jerk sensation, that overarching need to inhale, get air? Well, guess what, there’s nothing that can be done. That’s called suffocation. Terrible to even imagine let alone knowing another human being is experiencing this.

Oh and let’s not forget the people we have spread the virus to; our husband, wife, children, parents, other people who also have people they love, I mean, ain’t that the way the world works……everybody’s got a mother, a father……

Now for those who believe it’s all hype, how much are you willing to bet on that? We’re not talking dollars and cents, we’re talking about using your life as currency. All in…. Bet not just on your life, but let’s add to the pot the lives of those you love,  people in your community, people in the world. Whether or not your trust the vast amount of information coming to you via social media and tv. Are those stakes high enough? Is it worth it? I’m writing this because I have family members and friends who believe that they never get sick and/or it’s all hype. I believe this can apply to people who think they are too young or healthy or that only people with preexisting conditions or over 60 are susceptible.

Maybe I never get sick or maybe it’s all hype, who knows? This is my opinion and it is my why for believing this Covid-19 is real and why I’m honestly and seriously taking precautionary measures outlined by the CDC and my state’s recommendations based on the spread of the virus. They are beginning to set up more testing sites. Find out where they are and when you can get tested.

I continue to chant everyday for each and every one of us to have lives full of health, prosperity, happiness and love. And that we all express the highest level of our humanity with deep gratitude for the sanctity and preciousness of life. 

Sixty-one years and counting…..

Last year Michael Franks released a new CD, titled “The Music in My Head”. I am happy to say that once again, I was able to contribute vocally to the recording. I feel that all of Michael’s work is amazing, but this one stands as a masterpiece of brilliance that only Mr. Franks can deliver. Perfectly summed up and edified in only the way he can do it. 

A straight-ahead testament to all that is Michael Franks.

I started touring with Michael in 1993, the Dragon Fly Summer tour. And now 25 years later, I can honestly say that Michael’s music and talent as a singer-songwriter continues to inspire and motivate me to be the best that I can be as an artist and to have determined aspirations to write songs that will impact people’s lives in way that they are encouraged and brings happiness.

left, bottom to top- Sonny , Terry, Clint, Chris, me, Jay, Charles, Michael, Livingston, Logan.

The second week of January I attended the Jazz Congress 2019 at Jazz At Lincoln Center, sponsored by Adam R. Rose. There were a plethora of panels and workshops that covered a wide range of topics relating to the music industry. One event, in particular, was Art Blakey Centennial Celebration, the keynote session for the two-day program. On October 11, Art Blakey would have become a centenarian. The program began with the presentation of the Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award to Darlene Chan. Assembled on stage were the numerous musicians who have played in the Blakey band over the years. Of course there were many absent, still, it was impressive to see all who had worked with him.

The alumni of Art Blakey’s band.

“One is not a genuine leader if one does not foster capable successors. True success cannot be achieved without fostering talented individuals and nurturing their potential.

Daisuku Ikeda

After the welcome introduction and presentation, the moderator, Celine Peterson (WBGO), began asking the assembled guest musicians to talk about their “time” with Mr. Blakey. It was at that moment, the word longevity popped into my head. I’ve used the word thousands of time but I wanted to really look up the meaning and to make sure my understanding of the word was close to the textbook definition. A Google search for the answer came up with 1. Long life; 2. Long existence or service. It was curious how both these explanations were applicable. Definition two, for instance, Long existence or service; I am not sure if anyone on stage that evening had been with Blakey for 25 years, maybe, but even so, they all performed a service with the band whatever amount of time spent.  And as long as they honor the man they will continue to serve the spirit of how Mr. Blakey’s artistry influenced their lives as musicians.

How does the long life fit in? There were those who started performing with Mr. Blakey when they were young and although they were not close to 100 years old, albeit there were some there that were, at least, in their late eighties, this fit the long life. Art Blakey’s leadership, mentoring those around him, built and sustained a legacy that manifests in the lives of the musicians that are still living, playing and celebrating the soul of the music he generously shared with the world.

“One tall tree does not make a forest. Unless other trees grow to the same height, you cannot have a large grove. A true leader is devoted to raising capable people to whom the future can be entrusted.”

Daisuku Ikeda

Why Woodstock?

When I talk to people and they ask me where do you live, my response is always, house in Woodstock, apartment in Brooklyn. The reluctance to let go of Brooklyn as my official place, because I do so love me some Brooklyn, is puzzling to me somewhat, yet, Saturday I was pleasantly surprised by my feelings about how much Woodstock has become my home.

A dear friend emailed me about whether or not I would be attending the “march” in Woodstock. First I was taken aback that there would be anything organized up here and secondly, I figured that if there was something going on here, more than likely the attendance would be perhaps 30 people. I have lost count of the Sundays where I’ve driven by the Village Green to see the lone woman from Families for Peace, standing, holding one end of her colorful sign made from a bedsheet with the other end tied to the tree. And every time witnessing her solitary acknowledgment for peace, I would vow to myself that one of these Sundays I’m going to park and go stand with her.  OK back on track…..I got to thinking, a women’s march and rally in Woodstock is ideal. If I could march here instead of traveling all the way to Brooklyn where we would eventually end up in Manhattan, this would definitely save me time while showing solidarity. I had long discarded the idea of going to Washington, DC. cost, time, distance all the things that would make even an active activist hesitate.

Woodstock Women's March

Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link she provided for me and found out that there were women marches happening all over the world and not just mobilizing on a large scale such as Washington, DC; New York City; San Francisco, but they were also being organized in smaller more remote areas. How brilliant and exhilarating! If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed……The point of these marches is to mobilize wherever you can and to show unity no matter where you are in the world, right? So thus my decision was made and I prepared to attend believing that at least 30 of us Peaceniks living here would show up.

I DID NOT EXPECT the turnout!!! There were hundreds of people. Women and men of all ages, children, babies, young and old, carrying signs….They were marching together, singing songs, playing instruments, talking and reminiscing about the days when they rallied in this exact town or other rallies and marches. And those pink hats. I’ve never been a fan of pink, but now, well let’s just say, I’m picking out the yarn for my new pink hat, knit a few to keep on hand cause something tells me, I’m gonna need it.

Experiencing the day, I met many new people. I ran into new acquaintances and people that I’ve known since I first moved here. We talked, laughed and recalled events in our lives together and it was that moment that I came to the understanding why I live in Woodstock. What was the thing about it that made me feel that it was my home? I really can’t put my finger on it exactly but there is a saying that Austin, Texas coin, you can find it on the t-shirts that Book People use to carry in their store – Keep Austin Weird, well Woodstock has a saying, Relax, they’ll never find you here. I think we should add another slogan and have one that says, Yep….you’re in Woodstock.