Dispatch from Self-Isolation: Everything Will Be Ok

Dispatch from Self-Isolation: Everything Will Be OK 

by vocalist Alexis Cole 

Everything Will Be OK, says a lawn sign that I jog by. No, it most certainly will not, is my reflexive thought. 

I think a lot about Climate Catastrophe these days…actually most days. I’m an apocalyptic thinker, raised that way and exacerbated by a passion for the New Testament in the formative time of my early adulthood. Though somehow not everyone seems to agree, most scientists say that things look bad for the continuance of the incredibly delicate balance of life on Earth.   

I perceive the Coronavirus Pandemic, a tragedy of its own, as a warm-up act for the real catastrophe of Global Warming, which will affect all people and all life on Earth. Our response and preparedness for the current pandemic is not making me optimistic that we will meet the challenges.   

Perhaps my interest in the Apocalypse has cultivated in me the survivalist spirit which is now a popular subculture called the prepper community. I probably don’t have a lot in common with those people, other than a belief that Everything Probably Will Not Be OK

I have the spirit of survivalism, but not much of the accoutrement; guns, bunkers, 50gal tubs of dried beans…So, for me this pandemic has been a chance to flex my baby survivalist skills, (call it prepper lite) and learn many things and do everything for myself. Luckily, I don’t need to grow my own food yet (brown thumb) or defend against invading masses (pacifist). But I am perfectly positioned to meet the challenges imposed by a catastrophe in a world which still has WiFi and Oreos.  

I’m at my cottage in the woods; something I bought because I travel for work and decided I would never go on vacation if it required traveling. I came out here when the pandemic first started, and it’s a perfect place to be. The thing I love the most about this time is the lack of demands on my schedule. Every day I wake up and do whatever might please me. Yesterday, I chopped up brush with a chainsaw and removed some relic trash that was older than me from the back woods. I gave myself a short summer haircut by feel, efficiently standing sky-clad in the backyard. I recorded a track for a songwriter and took my new foster dog (my first ever pet!) Gracie for many walks. I finished the day by firing my web designer after deciding that since I have the time to figure it out, I could probably execute my vision for the site better myself.   

Just since March I’ve learned to do home recording, give a concert and teach online, chop wood, build a woodshed, plumb a washing machine, and use a chainsaw! I’ve written songs and made educational and how-to videos, and made enchilada sauce and done some baking! My most exciting new endeavor, which I think will change my life forever, is the aforementioned website which I’m learning to design!  It’s for singers who are now teaching remotely to connect with students in an online educational community, check it out at www.jazzvoice.com

Every day if there’s something I want to learn, I just do it, because trying new things requires time to fail, and I have plenty of buffer for failure in this new paradigm.   

While I’m a pessimist in general, I’m an optimist in specific. I’ve found new ways to connect with my audience and share the music through my concerts online, and my sauna song videos - a series of recordings I did singing in my sauna which has great acoustics!  Using Zoom, I’m connecting with students and helping them use this time to grow. And through creating jazzvoice.com, I’m connecting with fellow singers and supporting them through a difficult time.  

My streaming  concert on May 23, happened to be on Eid-al-Fitr, the Islamic holiday at the end of Ramadan. I wanted to sing a song to commemorate the holiday.  I figured American Muslims needed a song in the Great American Songbook tradition. Taking up the mantle of the Jewish writers who composed most of the popular Christmas music, I wrote “The Eid Song” fashioned after “The Christmas Song.” I got help from friends on Facebook with some of the imagery of Eid. 

Children in the kitchen tasting sweets from off the stove 

The smell of spices cinnamon and clove 

Ramadan is over and we’re ready for the feast. 

Eid Mubarak, celebrate His Peace 

30 Days we pondered and we prayed 

Sacrificed our meals throughout the day 

Evenings when we broke our fasts with Family and friends 

Prayers sung at the mosque, Love never ends 

Children open presents and decorate each room 

Hang the lights around the crescent moon 

With you beside me it doesn’t matter what will come 

This Eid will be a celebration of Love. 

30 Days we looked inside our hearts 

Tried to give to those in greatest need 

Anything can be a charity: a smile, a hand, a thought word or deed. 

God loves all His children, He sees you where you are 

Eid-al-Fitr will live inside your heart. 

With you beside me it doesn’t matter what will come 

This Eid will be a celebration of Love. 

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”  I think that was Julian of Norwich’s way of saying Everything Will Be OK.  I will try to believe. Not a naive optimism, but a deep and powerful faith.

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