It’s a new month (good bye February!) and we’re about to enter a new season (Lent starts tomorrow and spring is only 19 days away). Today is Mardi Gras and with COVID restrictions loosening (FINALLY…entering what we will know as endemic phase where the virus will NOT be gone, but will be more manageable) we SHOULD be celebrating.
I, like so many others think of New Orleans at this time. The parades and the parties that go on and on. Eating and drinking (drinking and eating) as we celebrate before Lent begins. The idealistic part of me (which seems to think that I am still young) would love to up and go to New Orleans and take part in the chaos. The realistic part (that KNOWS and FEELS my age) tells me that I am out of my mind to even consider it. Maybe someday I will visit, even if it’s not during the insanity of Mardi Gras. (It’s my understanding that there’s crazy fun no matter when you visit.)
But back to the topic at hand (sort of). Today is Mardi Gras. Wherever you are, you should be partying. However, as much as I would like to, I’m just not feeling it. While I’d like to jump for joy that we have (for the most part) beaten back COVID-19 (not beaten, but beaten back), the day here is gray and I know it is a gray day for so many people as the Russian invasion of Ukraine stuns and hurts us all. I want to sing and dance today, but I think of women and children huddled in bomb shelters. I think of young men being separated from their families and going off to fight a battle that might have seemed unthinkable to them a week ago. I see old men ready to fight for their country when they should be playing with grandchildren. I see what my brain cannot comprehend; what I had heard would happen, but prayed it would not. I see a nightmare of the past come to life again.
This is not to judge or begrudge anyone who is enjoying all that this day has to offer. There IS much to celebrate. There IS reason to party. Furthermore, there’s an economic reason: travel, food, and beverage. Businesses that have been hit hard during these years certain could use a little extra revenue. And who doesn’t love a king cake? (The answer would be me…at least until someone makes a vegan king cake that I can get my hands on and my mouth around.) So if you are in the right mindset; enjoy this day and celebrate.
As for me, for now, I have already entered the season of Lent. A season, that for me is somber and reflective. This Lent I will reflect on our world and what I can do (no matter how little) to make it a better place. To help those who need help. (There are obviously a lot of people who need help, now more than ever.) To work towards a better tomorrow.
It is my hope that long before we reach Easter, or even Holy Week, that I will be ready to celebrate. Could a mid-Lenten Mardi Gras be in my future? I can hope. I can pray. Only time will tell.
Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. For more than seven years, she has been chronicling life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog.