Listen. If you hear a rustic flute in the far distance or spot a half goat roaming the countryside that would be Pan. That very early Greek God who made off with nymphs and liked to frolic in caves and grottoes. Pan comes down to us in pandemics, pandemonium and panic but he also is embedded in companion, panoply and Pan American.
Pan has an appetite for mischief. Legend has him evoking fear when his shouts upon waking are enough to cause a stampede among flocks. Pan also means all as in pandemic which literally means upon all people (Demos).
Peter Pan was a boy who never grew up. He consorted with other Betwixt and Between characters such as fairies, mermaids and pirates from Neverland. Could this damnable virus be his pixie dust? Maybe the coronavirus has mistaken our pulmonary tissue for his natural habitat in the fields of Arcadian antiquity.
I’m glad we’ve cleared that up. We need to know whom we are dealing with. With parents like Penelope and Apollo or Dionysus we are against some heavy hitters with temper management issues.
We have to change our way of living and if that ain’t enough? / We have to change the way we strut our stuff.
For those who believe this viral visitation serves some purpose it may be a test of our assumptions and adaptability. Maybe work doesn’t require being there. Traffic has vanished along with air pollution. There are signs of global consciousness even as xenophobia is used by demagogues to stoke fear and blame. Neighbors are caring for neighbors. This morning our friends shopped for us and now we received a note from our new neighbors concerned for our well-being and offering their help in shopping.
Two hundred years ago Haiti was liberated from Napoleonic rule thanks to the Yellow Fever epidemic. African slaves had immunity but the French did not. A case could be made that the Louisiana Purchase was a further extension of Napoleon's fear of the microorganism.
We will not emerge from this scourge unchanged. Science itself has been at risk against the forces of ignorance and deceit issuing from the President. Hopefully truth will be restored and we'll gain an appreciation for the essential role of the federal government to provide and protect the population. Pan is out of control and demands nothing less.