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Letters from the Pandemic, Countdown to Opening June 12, 2020

Mark Heckey is a retired city planner with a passion for writing.


Countdown to opening, we are crossing off the days of the calendar called Life.

The world has been paused, almost frozen in time.

We cannot wait any longer. We strain in the starting blocks, legs tightening, listening intently for the starter's gun.

Countdown to opening, awaiting the new abnormal now normal.

Is it time? Can we return? We consider the consequences of opening; will it be societal relief or lives sacrificed? The consequences weigh upon us as the countdown begins.

Now we recognize what we have lost. We had so many things in such abundance. Our vision blurred because they were so close and easily found.


We countdown to the opening of such simple human gifts:

Sitting in a restaurant, laughing with friends,

Birthday party for a child, candles in the dark,

Hot sun and hard bleachers, baseball in the park,

Handshake introductions, dancing to the beat,

Crowded theatre, jostling past to find your seat,

Rushing through an airport, family and friends from distant places,

A hug in the church lobby, encouraging faces.

I countdown the days to reopening my life, to a time when:

My face is uncovered and my glasses don't fog,

When the news has only one violent event,

Zoom is the sound a race car sent,

When the schools, stadiums, and museum doors swing free,

And people pour inside, shoulder to shoulder, pushing on me.

I countdown to the things I miss most:

A real classroom not in cyberspace,

Meeting rooms, face to face,

A trip to distant places, chartered for my soul,

And most of all, to see my children not on a screen,

But to touch them, to feel them, and hold them tight.

A new normal of love and light.


~ Mark Heckey












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