NICKEY JAFARI, RESIDENT PHYSICIAN- OB/GYN, TWIN CITIES
January 15, 2021
was it not already enough?
was it not already enough
the microscope you cannot escape being examined under
the isolation of missing your loved ones
a new anxiety
an additional anxiety
I could actually die
I might kill my loved ones
how much anxiety can we bear
you do as you must
thats how you got here
what is a resident if not resilient, obedient, determined
you learn how
you adjust to your new normal
and all the new layers it comes with
you have forgotten the joy of sharing a smile with your patient
and then one day
a deep ache inside your bones
youve never really felt your spine
you sit in your car, you wait patiently, you do it yourself
one inch back, she tells you
three turns in each nostril
you sleep through several days
“You have a POSITIVE Covid-19 Test Result”
you survive it
you have survived everything else so far
you worry when you see something catch your eye in the periphery
youve read the litany of possible sequelae
its just the kitten
you feel lighter, too
for six months
you had slowly forgotten
and eased into carrying
the heaviness of
what if I really get this
will I become one of the 200,000
may they rest in peace
December 31, 2020
As this milestone year comes to a close, we want to share a new initiative, built out of the Artistic Antidote for a Pandemic. Sensing an enhanced need for support and gratitude for our frontline healthcare workers, we've partnered with local artists to create unique "Daily Pause" offerings to share with all of you.
For our first piece, we offer up a unique pause from author Kate DiCamillo, who is one of six people to win two Newbery Medals for her novels The Tale of Despereaux and Flora & Ulysses. We are lucky to count her as a resident of our great state, and even luckier to have her share her words of support with us at this time when we could all use some uplifting and encouragement.
WHY ART? BY DEAN JAKUB TOLAR
Something about being in crisis and isolated from our normal routines triggers our brains to call up dark and dusty corners of our psyche we don’t usually see. In these corners live things like anxiety, gloom, and uneasiness.
Each of us has our own ways of dealing with these things and, for many of us, producing or experiencing art can provide the antidotes of pleasure, escape, and increased understanding.
For example, through the protagonist of Albert Camus’ The Plague, published in 1947, we experience many of the same issues facing us today. Is caring for a contagious population a moral duty? Or is it simple human decency? Do we shelter our loved ones when we put ourselves at risk or do they share the risk with us? How can we live our lives with a sense of normalcy, with a tender indifference to the virus?
When experiencing stress that begins to go beyond what words can express, we can find refuge in listening to opera. In the huge dramatic peaks and valleys of opera, emotions overflow in song and, for a moment, the burden of these emotions in our own lives are lifted away by the music and singers’ voices.
Three people I know—Carol Lange, the late Julie Ross, and my younger daughter Johanna―have found expression and relief through painting.
Whether an atmospheric, calming depiction of a rainy day (Carol), a delicate watercolor of a flowery field (Julie), or a punchy bouquet of cheerful flowers (Johanna), painting provides both release in the creation and pleasure from the viewing of the artwork.
Art offers us different ways to experience and view the world, and allows us to share the viewpoints and perspectives of its creators.
Please consider contributing to Artistic Antidotes―an image of your art, a poem, a song, a book that speaks to you―the ways art impacts your life as we build a “library” of shared resources for exploration, experience, creativity, and respite.