UUFC President’s Letter: April 23

Sixth Week:  During the time of COVID-19, UUFC President Hal Midgette is writing a weekly letter to the Fellowship about how we’re coping with these special circumstances.


Greetings to all :​

While working in my garden the other day, I started thinking about our current invisible threat, coronavirus, an organic “machine” that doesn’t meet the standards for being a living thing but that can reproduce after penetrating a cell membrane and hijack the cell’s command center, the nucleus. Next, the virus sends signals to other parts of the cell to start reproducing more of itself. When enough viruses are produced, the cell membrane is breached, and new viruses pour out to seek more victims. The word “virus” is from the Latin meaning “poison,” an apt name for something that has poisoned our society and our economy, but not our spirit. 

It is difficult for me to feel threatened by the coronavirus situation while working in my garden, pruning plants, pulling weeds, moving mulch, restacking rocks, cursing armadillos, and being cautious of snakes and poison ivy. Every time I go into my garden, I acknowledge a risk. While being aware of poisonous snakes, in thirty years I’ve only had rare encounters:  once a copperhead between my legs and another time, a rattlesnake I accidentally killed with a weed eater. How do I approach this risk? I wear appropriate clothing and try to be vigilant at all times. We all do that when driving, by putting on our seat belts, making sure the mirrors are adjusted, and ensuring we are not impaired prior to driving. When driving at night, some reduce the risk by wearing yellow polarized glasses to reduce glare. Others purchase more expensive, but safer, models of cars. With coronavirus, most of us accept that there is a risk not only to our safety, but to others too, even the ones we love. To reduce the risk, we shelter in place, wear face masks and sometimes gloves in public places, make liberal use of hand sanitizer, wash our hands frequently, and maintain social distance. We can do more, depending on our perception of the threat as well as the energy and time we want to use to lessen that threat.  

America has been knocked back, but certainly not knocked down. I have been amazed at our resiliency. Governor Kemp has issued guidelines for reopening Georgia. The decisions Governor Kemp has made will potentially place many of us at greater risk. Some will feel that the danger is over, that we can get back to normal…to a new normal. The face mask, which really helps keep infected people from infecting others, will start falling to the wayside for many, as it already has for a large number of people out and about in public. I’ve been astounded at how many people engage in close personal conversation sans face masks. Yikes! The risk level will rise, and we must simply be more cautious to not let the routine and duration of this marathon wear us down. Hydrate and stay focused. The consequences of failing to pay attention are too great. The invisible poison is still there, weaving its way through our society, probing for weaknesses. Be safe by being proactive.

Two songs to cheer you up if you are a little blue. First, “April Showers” sung by our very own Dick McMichael, produced by his stepson, Richard Champion. Dick has always been a favorite crooner of the Wednesday Night Discussion Group. I could not make a hyperlink to his song, but you can request it by emailing him. I guarantee it will put a smile on your face.

The second is a piece played by Robin Spielberg:  Pachelbel’s Canon.

Meanwhile…

The UUFC Board has started discussing the safety procedures necessary for reopening at a date to be determined after significant preparation and consideration of all the necessary guidelines. We have a list of ideas and procedures to be discussed at a Board meeting scheduled for May 13 at which we will be wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. We realize the threat of coronavirus is still present, even if many may think it has miraculously disappeared. Mother Nature is still in one of her worst moods.

Wednesday was Earth Day. Did you get outside and dance around a little or maybe just say a little prayer for Gaia? People in Jalandhar, northern Punjab, are able to see the Himalayan Mountains for the first time in 30 years because of the reduction in air pollution thanks to the lockdown. Human activity causes vibrations within the Earth, which are off by about 30% because of stay-at-home policies. Los Angeles reports the longest stretch of reduced air pollution since the 1980s. Gaia is pleased.

Bill Harlan out did himself this time with the April Newsletter. Job well done. It’s on our website.

Bill and our most efficient Office Administrator Brenda Stevens have consolidated the Zoom links for the Wednesday Night Discussion Group and for the Friday Lunch Group. It will be sent out Mondays to the entire congregation, making it easier to join in on the fun. (Just remember to save them so you can sign in.)

I cannot laud Stephan Bloodworth, Director of the Columbus Botanical Gardens, enough for his service this last Sunday, April 19, entitled “Biophilia,” or the love of life. He cited one of my favorite authors, E.O. Wilson, who not only wrote a book entitled “Biophilia,” but also created the Encyclopedia of Life, a project intent on cataloguing all of Earth’s myriad life forms and even viruses. Because of Stefan’s inspirational presentation, I ordered E.O. Wilson’s book “Biophilia” and purchased several of the photo apps Stephan mentioned that helped him capture his beautiful and insightful photos.  He shared his technique for merging with nature to see the oft missed pieces of our ecosystem. If you missed his presentation, here’s a link.  

This coming Sunday, April 26, Connie Ussery will present a non-traditional UU flower ceremony. Connie always does great things, so buckle up. You will see beautiful gardens, fantastic artwork and hear touching stories from some of our members. Sunday morning the presentation will be located on our YouTube video channel:  

Please be aware of the changes authorized by Governor Kemp next week, with some businesses opening for customers. Some people might change their attitudes about the pandemic and think that the danger is over. The epidemiologists tell us it isn’t. I’ve linked to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer article about the openings for those who haven’t seen the news or don’t get the local newspaper. 

Let’s keep the UU flame alive, be safe and stay in touch with each other.

In fellowship,

Hal Midgette
UUFC President