Happy Memorial Day, such as it is. The day that is set aside for honoring and mourning Americans who have died in military service is often celebrated as the unofficial start of summer and a three-day weekend for many of us. This year, it comes as the number of Americans dead from the pandemic reached nearly 100,000, many of whom died in service administering care to others. Many businesses, especially here in Maine, where the summer tourism season brings in major revenue, may not even open, and those that do will not serve the volumes they need to survive. Even for those of us who look forward to Memorial Day just for an extra day off, this year the holiday will not be all that different from every other day of the last two months. Strange days, indeed.
I read a thought that originated with C.S. Lewis and took a roundabout path to me in an essay, and it goes something like this: catastrophes such as war (and pandemics) lay bare the permanent human condition, which is to live in the shadow of certain death, but attention to cultural pursuits (and fun and pleasure, as you might associate with a summer vacation or a day off) is also part of what makes us human.
The library will reopen soon, and the people in our town will be able to resume pursuing the culture we bring you. For now, remember those lost, and try to enjoy yourself a little.