30 seconds and the significance thereof…


A disappointing forecasted snowstorm or lack thereof this weekend. 2020 can’t even get the weather right. No snow in Vermont this time of year is like no sunshine on Cape Cod during the summer months. Not natural nor the desired outcome. Thoughts of a weekend snowstorm was something beautiful to look forward to for this lifelong New Englander. A “normal” reason to stay cozy at home and not due to social distancing protocols to protect against Covid-19. We are ready in Vermont for the flakes to fly. Ski resorts anxiously await the white gold even though this season will be different from the rest.

Time is a curious concept and how we experience it varies from one person to another. Obviously, there is a standard universality and an official structure to time, but we all experience time these days differently. I started running a long time ago and as I developed as a mere mortal runner training, track workouts and long runs became part of my everyday life often dictating the rest of my day as well. Rest and eating properly to fuel for the next days’ effort was always factored into each day. Running can be an all-consuming sport bordering on the obsessive for me as I reflect on my many years of participation. The world of running is a place I truly love. A lot of life lessons happen while you spend time on the pavement. Many of the friendships formed are forever.

As you become an avid runner you begin to see time differently. You focus on time and its juxtaposition to running. The sport revolves around the concept of time. I still when driving on the highway will look at my GPS to see what the remaining miles are and equate them to a run. Depending on the miles ahead I will reflect on how grateful I am to be accomplishing them in the luxury of a car or I might say I ran that distance last Sunday. A trained mindset. Time can be your friend or not in running. During any given workout or race a runner is working hard up against the clock. That is exactly what all Americans are up against right now. Time against the clock.

In running 30 seconds is a long time. During a hard workout in particular 30 seconds can feel long. 30 seconds in a race can mean the difference between a solid win or a disappointing loss. A personal best of 30 seconds is celebratory in its significance. 30 seconds of continuous running for the newbie represents the first real steps towards enjoying a sport for a lifetime and the many friendships to be formed as you share the pavement together. 

However, one understands what 30 seconds means we all need to take a moment and understand the mortal significance of this brief but deadly period of time currently. A tv commercial can be just a mere 30 seconds. 30 seconds happens quickly in life. Every 30 seconds a person, a loved one, a mother, a father, a grandparent, a sister, a brother, a friend or unspeakably a child is dying in America from the coronavirus. Denial seems to be running a dangerous race with our fellow defiant Americans that feel the need to gather during this pandemic crisis. Funeral homes are purchasing refrigeration trucks since the demand for their services have exceeded their capabilities. Another gathering I would prefer not to attend…

The snooze button on an alarm clock is commonly set for 9 minutes or 540 seconds equaling 18 American lives lost while one snoozes. Our country is currently looking at a daily death rate equal to the number of Americans that perished in 9/11. I remember how frighteningly staggering that number was and still mourn those Americans lost that tragic September day. 

Have some of us lost the ability to acknowledge the thousands of Americans lost to this insidious virus? Because we don’t physically see this enemy does it not exist for some? I know many healthcare workers that are daily witnessing this silent and invisible enemy as they hold their dying patient in their arms. We cannot underestimate this enemy.  Sit quietly for 30 seconds while understanding someone in America has perished form Covid-19 and will no longer be able to gather with their loved ones…

Wear a mask, wash your hands, stay distant and stay home…gather when we all can gather safely!

“To share is precious, pure and fair.
Don’t play with something you should cherish for life. Don’t you wanna care, ain’t it lonely out there?” 
― Marvin Gaye

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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