Today, amid thoughts of where Covid-19 has taken and might take the world, I’ve been flooded with seemingly unrelated thoughts about the mystery of life.

Last fall I got a last-minute invitation to join a family for dinner. As a gesture of appreciation, I snipped off a small slip of purple coleus from a pot outside and some wispy greens with white blossoms and squeezed them into a smallish bud vase. I figured it would bring a smile and might last a few days.

Actually, my hostess added fresh water for weeks and then potted the snippets. Today, she sent a text message. “This morning I see that a white bud is beginning to open on the cutting you gave us last fall.” Oh, the mystery of life!

Last October, my daughter and I were in Acadia National Park in Maine. One lunchtime we perched on a downed tree that surely stood more than 60 feet tall in its prime. It had been cut from its life-sustaining roots years before. But in three spots on that long trunk, small shoots were growing and each held more than a dozen leaves. Life, where logic tells us it can’t be possible.

I thought today about how you and I and all nature are programmed to thrive. I truly believe that. I admit I also had deeply sad thoughts today, ones that if I stayed with made me sick at heart.

I had read there has been a significant upswing in the buying of guns in these past couple weeks of Covid-19 news. I’m assuming that’s so people could protect themselves if food or money ran out and they were threatened with violence.

I ache when I think that people might play that scenario over and over in their minds—how and when they would use their guns. I fear that such thinking increases the possibility that it would happen, and I wonder what kind of soul-wounding occurs to the person who keeps repeating such thoughts. I fear that with guns as an option, the buyers will not become invested now in helping figure out ways that collectively we can care for each other so that violence doesn’t happen.

Our thoughts have energy that go beyond us. We know the difference in the feel of a room filled with low morale or with caring, cooperation. We know that plants and intensive care patients who are sent positive thoughts for their health — even when the patients and their doctors are unaware of it — do better than those who aren’t sent such thoughts.

Every thought and act that is directed to the well-being of someone else during these roller-coaster times, makes a difference. While we are quarantined to keep our health care systems from being swamped or collapse, we can heed the words of Mike Smith, the host of Harbor by Josten’s:

“We as a society have to choose to not panic, to not let fear win, to not become bitter, and to never focus on blame. We much learn how to physically distance ourselves from one another, for now, but stay close to each other in our intentions, our relationships, and our shared time.

“Instead, we must choose to focus on how we will help others and provide hope in the face of uncertainty.

“Let’s choose to focus this time on how we will become better on the other side and how we will rebuild together. Let’s all stay rooted in love.”

Pat Postlewaite is a retired social worker who has loved living, working and volunteering in Owatonna since 1970. She has written for the People’s Press in the past, including a column on loss issues.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at

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