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Time to safely spread our wings a little

Sunday, April 26, 2020
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“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” — Chuang Tzu

The saying about tough times bringing out the best in people is true.

And as hard as things are for many of us right not, we’re still here, and that’s what counts most.

As we remain sheltered in our homes — our cocoons — I was reminded of a quote by Taoist philosopher named Chuang Tzu: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

The saying fits today maybe more than ever before. We will eventually emerge from our shelters stronger and more beautiful than ever before.

And until then we have to take inspiration in the little things. And there are many of those little things all around us here in Lincoln Parish if we only pay attention.

Particularly inspiring to me was Friday morning’s “parade of hope” held in the parking lot of Alpine nursing home.

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 outbreak has hit long-term care facilities throughout the country particularly hard, with more than 10,000 resident and staff deaths recorded from coronavirus infections. Making things even tougher on residents of such facilities are the lockdowns they’re living under and not being able to see family members other than maybe waving through windows.

On Friday morning many Alpine residents got to go outside for the first time in weeks. They lined the parking lot as a parade of hundreds of cars — many decorated with balloons and signs — slowly drove through with hands extended out of windows waving in a show of support and love. Traffic on the North Service Road backed up traffic on both sides of the road’s intersection of Highway 33.

It was a traffic jam of love with no tempers flaring, only drivers cautiously and politely merging into a single line driving down the road to Alpine, driving through the parking and then exiting out back to Highway 33.

As I said, it was inspirational.

I’ve been inspired more than a few times at the way Lincoln Parish has handled the COVID-19 crisis and the way people have pulled together while social distancing at the same time.

But while staying safe, I still want a little more. And I have an idea to maybe give us all a little more, even if it’s only a temporary distraction from the constant reminders that we’re all social distancing.

Over the past week I’ve seen videos of neighborhood flash mobs in cities around the country, with families out dancing in their yards, waving to each other and simply having a little fun while staying safe.

In Italy last month, thousands of Italians decided to break the monotony and loneliness of the country’s strict anti-coronavirus lockdown by joining in a nationwide “Sound Flash Mob,” with people using computers or whatever instruments they could find, even pots and pans, to make a little music. Many Italians simply banged on pots and pans as they waved to neighbors in other buildings while more talented musicians filmed themselves playing a variety of tunes at their windows and posted their contributions on social media.

That’s something I would like to see here in Lincoln Parish this weekend, so I’m asking area residents to join me in a sort of “social distance celebration.”

The weather on Sunday, April 26 is predicted to be nice, so at 3 p.m. that day I encourage all Lincoln Parish residents to join in by walking out into their yards or driveways and make a little noise, or turn on some music and dance and wave to neighbors while making a little noise as a reminder that while socially apart we’re all in this together and better times will come.

Let’s leave our cocoons and safely spread our wings if only for a few minutes. Let’s remind ourselves that deep down we’re all butterflies who will get to soar again eventually.

T. Scott Boatright is editor of the Ruston Daily Leader. Contact him at