I wrote a draft of the second part of my Nepal evacuation story during my first month quarantining back in America. As we were all grieving our collective loss of certainty, it somehow felt inappropriate to publish anything. Instead, I grappled with making a new plan for the year, which I soon realized actually meant making a new plan for my life.
Months later, I still can’t bring myself to finish writing about hiking in the Himalayas. For too long distance had allowed me to keep my sorrow at my country’s injustices to a simmer. Now back home, as I watched mismanagement cause thousands of unnecessary deaths, alongside footage of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, it boiled over.
“A kind of vertigo of the soul.” A phrase from a recent newspaper article that keeps coming back to me, although I can no longer remember what the author’s subject was. Perhaps it was the COVID-19 death toll, steadily climbing past 200,000 here in the land of the free. Or maybe it referred to the fires raging up and down my beloved West Coast, turning the air toxic and the sky red. Mostly, it is a comfort to know that I am not the only one dizzied by such a staggering loss of life.
Meanwhile, protestors still occupy the streets, as Breonna Taylor’s killers walk free. When one person dies entire worlds disappear. Stepping outside after days cooped up indoors from smoke, it surprises me to feel a crisp autumn breeze. Frankly, I’m amazed that the seasons can still change. Overhead, for the first time in weeks, the sun shines brightly in a cloudless blue sky. I let that be enough.