There was an article in the NY Times recently about how llamas have extra antibodies and, in one study, those antibodies have proven to be successful at defeating COVID-19. Apparently llamas are superheros in the world of antibodies. They have two different types of antibodies (where humans only have one). They have a regular antibody and a smaller ninja antibody. The ninja antibody is the one that might save us.
Ironic that it was animals that infected us with this virus, and it could be animals that also save us from it. There’s some kind of poetry there. Some kind of cosmic lesson to be learned. A llama lesson.
I’ve been reading an old journal of mine lately. The first entry dates back to 2005. I read it now, 15 years later, with nostalgia, with curiosity. I read about my former self and try to remain open, try not to judge, try to have compassion. In truth, it’s been uncomfortable at times. It got dark. There are angry poems and incoherent descriptions of dreams. There are pages full of wild thoughts and mournful complacency. Self-inflicted wounds made by my own words. Guilty memories. Scribbled outrage. Such a little book for such heavy content.
I wrote my way through the ugly back then. I named it or tried to give it beautiful words. Make it presentable. The realizations were often just beyond my reach. But if I could find the right description, if I could make it art, then it made more sense to me. Finding my voice, scrawling out nonsense, taking the tangled ugly mess of my mind and giving it language — that has always been my home. The empty pages are open arms. The small pen in my hand is a cure.
People across the globe are feeling all kinds of ugliness. Are experiencing ugliness. They are watching loved ones fall ill. They are losing their only source of income. They are closing the doors on their dreams. They are feeling isolated and scared. They are angry and helpless. They are hungry and lost. It would take a very big journal to capture all that ugly. It would take a lifetime to articulate it all into words.
This is not new. The world has always been ugly. It’s just that we all seem to have a little extra time now to read through those old journal entries. To look back and see just how dark it has been. To reflect on suffering. To sit with anger. To dwell on sorrow. It is uncomfortable. It’s been dark. I’m afraid, my friends, that it might get darker still.
It hurts to lose the control we once had. Or thought we had. It hurts to accept that inequalities continue to make this pandemic harder. The words feel sharp. They bite. We have this chance to reflect on what once was. To see it without judgement. We have the chance to really listen to each other. To hear and understand. It sounds so simple, when I write it like that.
I, for one, will continue to choose to find my voice. Continue to seek out the page, the expression, the art. I hope that you will find your way too, and will brave the dark with me. We cannot escape the ugliness, it will always be there. But together we can see it, and love it and give it a good story. Maybe give it a happy ending.
A happy ending that might just be: Human Beings saved by llamas.