The past week in Cambridge was exhausting. Bombs. Bomb threats. Evacuations. A shooting on campus. Daily emergency alerts. Worried emails from friends and family. This on top of the normal stress of work and life -- deadlines, mealtimes, errands. It's been a long week.
Yesterday, the city was under lockdown. Well over a million people stayed inside their homes, just waiting. We stared out the window when cop cars or fire trucks went by every ten minutes. It turns out a lot happened in my neighborhood while I was sleeping Thursday night. It was eerie to think about all the places I go on a daily basis turned into militarized zones and crime scenes. It was terrifying.
These are emotions some people deal with daily, because their communities are militarized zones. I can't imagine living under that stress for months, years or decades. People make their lives -- feed their families, do their work, educate their children -- under that stress. I could barely eat toast yesterday. This little taste of war in my backyard gave me more compassion for the people who live with drone strikes, terrorist attacks and military violence on a daily basis. Who do this for years and still get a meal on the table. Their resiliency is remarkable.
As the hours trudged by, the church bells that always sound in Cambridge kept ringing on the hour. And the birds paid no heed to the lock down, whizzing and whirling and chirping about. They did not fear bullets or bombs or armed police vehicles. They just went about their springtime business alongside the blooming trees.
Today, I am gratefully getting back to my springtime business -- planting a garden, growing some food, smelling the flowers. All outside. Because today, I can go outside and not worry.
I spent the day planting my little tomato seedings, chatting with the kids who lived downstairs, and digging up some invasive mint. It was a normal day. When fire trucks went by, I didn't have to worry.
There is nothing quite as peaceful as digging in the dirt and planting a springtime garden. Dreaming about the food and flowers to come. What a blessing. I wish life was like this for every other human being. We could all use a few more gardens and a few less guns.