It’s been difficult to watch in recent weeks as many of the things that lend our city its unique character have been muted by the march of COVID-19 across the country and now this state.
Many of the losses are temporary, but losses nonetheless. There’s no getting back this moment in time.
Everyone should be following the guidelines related to social distancing and other preventive measures issued by the state Department of Health, painful and inconvenient as those may be. Right now, that’s where we are.
But it’s important to keep in mind that we’ll have our chance, at some point, to begin working our way back from this, and our ability and willingness to come together here will mean more than it ever has.
Roswell like most communities is at times united, at times divided — at times waiting for some impetus to determine which direction we’ll choose. In whatever remains of the hard times we’re currently beset by, we should go ahead and determine — each of us for ourselves — that forward is the path and together is the only way we’re going to get there.
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Though we’re locked down for the time being, we can go ahead and roll up our sleeves for the effort. Start by helping anyone you’re able to help, whether that’s a local business that’s still operating and could use your support or a neighbor for whom an outstretched hand (figuratively) has never been more needed.
That sense of community helps now. It can be redirected later into the effort required for recovery.
The governor’s extension last week of her emergency declaration settled across the state like a fog. We now know requirements for most businesses to close, most gatherings to cease and most New Mexicans to stay home will extend through April 30.
Here, we’d already seen closure of the UFO museum; cancellation of this year’s Hike It and Spike It. The Phoenix flights coming off the board was hard to see for those who’ve followed the progress of the Air Center. The pain being felt by local businesses and their employees is immense.
These occurrences and many more can pile up and begin to feel like a mountain between us and where we need to be — which is, more or less, where we used to be. But the way over or around something like that is a step at a time. In ways that might under normal conditions seem small, we can begin now.
There are good examples for us all around. Groups and individuals are sewing masks. Providing food and other resources to those in need. People are encouraging safe, positive behaviors in those around them. Those working in what have been deemed essential industries have kept on keeping on. We’re standing on shakier legs than before, but we’re standing, and they’re the reason.
There are always those who act selfishly, even in a predatory fashion when things are at their worst. But those bad actors have been overshadowed so far by the good acts of kind people. We can keep it that way.
The threat of the virus and the toll it’s taken in lives, along with the hit to the economic well-being of the nation, have created a weight across all our shoulders. Along with that is the weight of uncertainty: When will this end?
Here in Roswell, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched to wonder — even at a time like this — how we might appear when viewed through the eyes of a visitor from far away. For one who’d been watching for some time, our behaviors these days would appear uncharacteristic in the extreme. That’s how it has to be. Right now, it’s helping keep people safe.
Listen to knowledgeable people. Trust reliable sources. But don’t wait around for someone to point you in the right direction. Of course we’re going to get through this. But we want as many of us as possible to be there on the other side.
Even before the extension of the governor’s orders, it was becoming apparent this would be a slog. And it seems more and more likely many of us will be wearing masks along the way. But not blinders. Coming back from this might take more time than we’d like, but in most cases the path, though hard to follow, will be easy to see.
John Dilmore is editor of the Roswell Daily Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this column are those of the author.