Starting today we are allowed to go for walks with no other end but to walk. There are restrictions on times of day and distance from your house, pero no me importa. Puedo reanudar una de mis actividades favoritas en las calles de Madrid.

The swallows (las golondrinas) are constantly swooping and cheeping overhead. I watch them from my balcony each day.

Yesterday I hand sewed una mascarilla. I had been just tying a cloth over my face, but this works better. I'm going to make another today.

On my walk today the streets were busy with people, at least by quarantine standards. They were still lacking quite a few to measure up to normal Madrid standards. At one point two motorcycle cops passed me, followed by seven silent yellow ambulances. Later in the day a yellow helicopter circled over the city. Helicopters aren't a common sight or sound here.

I walked without my watch or my phone, wandering on impulse, visiting parts of the city (within the allotted one-kilometer radius) that I haven't seen since before we went into lockdown forty-nine days ago. In that time I've left the house eight or nine times and only for groceries.

My twinkling lights in the distance!
From my balcony I can see down the length of my street and into the southern distance. The land slopes down gradually, so I can see tops of buildings for a bit, and then this green area that slops up again to more red roofs and buildings on the other side. I like to watch these buildings in the evening when warm lights at their base twinkle brighter as the sun sets and shine especially bright in the dark. I think they are on the other side of the river, which I can't see, though I imagine the green area is the bank. Beyond them (during the day) I can see low mountains, a dusty dark blue from the space between us.

Looking at distance, at space, has always made me feel peaceful, whether it is the ocean or a desert landscape. That open expanse in front of me connects me with the vastness inside of me, as it is in each of us. So at least once a day now, I stand or sit on my balcony and just look at those distant buildings, at my river bank of green, and think about finding my way there once we can go out, and go out farther.

Today on my walk I crossed the bridge just south of La Almudena, Madrid's catedral, and from the bridge I could look far out to the west to the green green trees, so many trees, of Casa de Campo, to the buildings outside the center, out in parts of the city that I have never visited. I was grateful to have a different and wider expanse to look at, but it also reminded me how lucky I am to have my distant bank of green and the buildings and the lights.

Writing that reminds me how lucky I am for so many reasons. My health and that of my family, my job even on the days it is stressful, and my position of privilege in the world that allows me to avoid many of the other dangers and inequities that exacerbate the danger of the virus for so many people. For although I have Native American ancestors, I definitely benefit from the systems of white privilege in the world, and I am spared the host of inequities caused by racism and a racist system that mean many more Black, Brown, and Indigenous people work in jobs that don't allow them to telecommute, don't have the same access to healthcare and economic stability, make up a disproportionate number of the incarcerated population (especially for minor crimes), are held in ICE detention centers, and the list goes on. All of these things make this situation with the coronavirus worse for them. More fatal on a grand scale.

As I said in a previous post, I think it is important to acknowledge that there is stress and trauma in this even for those of us not affected in such an immediate, life-threatening way. And we don't need to compare "whose pain is the pain-i-est?" But we should also acknowledge that we are not all experiencing this from the same starting point. Some of us started a few (or many) rungs up the ladder. Let's acknowledge and help those who have been prevented from climbing the ladder by the racism that is an integral part of how the ladder was built.

If you are interested in helping out, these are some reputable organizations I donated to this week...
First Nations Development Institute
Southern Poverty Law Center
Amnesty International
Homeboy Industries

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