The Curve is Back and We are Back to Pause and Reflect       

My name is David Erskine and Dr. Kathleen Allen asked me to write a third blog from just ten minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. As you may be aware, California has re-closed its indoor dining, spas and salons as of July 15th.

As I write this on July 17th, we have completed 18 weeks with the goal to flatten the curve, support frontline health workers and keep ourselves and our families healthy.   According to the medical professionals in Northern California, based on data and science this was once accomplished. However, reopening our economy combined with  inconsistent follow through on safety practices like wearing masks and social distancing resulted in another surge, which needs addressing.

Just as I’ve done in the past, let me break it down by weeks to summarize some of the lessons learned – perhaps my musings here will touch something for you and your own personal experiences.

Week 13

June 14th would have been the Annual running of the Dipsea Race,  the second oldest footrace next to the Boston Marathon.  The Dipsea started on November 19th, 1905 which was also the year  my father was born.  Dad  was also a cross country runner at Alma College in Michigan.  The Dipsea starts in downtown Mill Valley and end in Stinson Beach on the Pacific.  It is 7.5 miles and the first 4 miles is pretty much uphill.  Check out the website (www.dipsea.org)  I have run it 15+ times and it’s like Christmas in June, but not this year.

Week 14

June 21st was Father’s Day and we celebrated on Zoom, because of a COVID19 case at a local restaurant and we were being extra cautious.  I also  completed work with two new coaching clients and continued work on a Site-Specific Plan for a church where I am the facilities manager.  Between the State of California, County of Marin, CDC, and Methodist Church there are many protocols to adhere to when it comes to the pandemic, making my job even more complicated than usual.

Week 15

Black Lives Matter!  Sticking to my promise from June, I finished the first month  of weekly Zoom calls to listen,  learn from and educate other older white men like me to stand up and be counted.  Guest speakers included an Oakland High School teacher who shared materials on “Unpacking the Knapsack of White Privilege.”

Week 16

Doing weekly pro bono coaching work with a Millennial as he navigates creating a business at age 25.  Also did my b-imonthly six mile Sunday run up the famous Dipsea Steps  (all 692 of them) and out the glorious Sun Trail which hugs Mount Tamalpai. This area was   settled by the Miwok Indians many years ago and still holds their magic.  The trail is full of  deer, snakes, turkey vultures, bobcats and views of the Pacific Ocean that would take your breath away.

Week 17

Continued work on safely reopening outside worship after completing work on the Marin Recovers committee, which is guiding over 200 faith-based institutions (only in Marin County!  It is a daunting yet fascinating task because the goal posts change not just weekly, but daily.  Now does that sound familiar?   C’mon people work with me.  We are in this together.

Week 18

Made an amazing new friend on Wednesday named Domingo in Oakland.  A little background first, though.  I am not a big dog person, sorry, although I do tend to have more affection for boxers or larger dogs. So here I am visiting my daughter, who is caring for a little chihuahua,  and she knows I am not crazy about little dogs.  However, as we lunched on Lake Merritt with Domingo the chihuahua…three large dogs approached.  Domingo not only stood his ground, he was super tough in my opinion.  So much so that he is now referred to as Bad Ass Domingo, and has subsequently earned my respect and a bit of affection as well.

To summarize, the stakes have never been higher as the original sin of slavery comes home to roost.  Time to stand,  be counted and participate every single day…yes every single day for a minute or five minutes or longer. I hope that my schedule over the past month shows how much I’m trying to adhere to this “every day” mentality. I can assure you, it’s adding meaning and purpose to my life as we all muddle through these times.

Remember our heroes on the frontlines will live in our hearts and minds forever. Our collective will to fight systemic racism will grow in our DNA.  The question remains what each of us will choose…for me –

Count me in with gratitude and love!

Sincerely, Dave – World Traveler, Poet, Actor, Taxi-Driver…Blogger