Musings on Fall

Fall has always been a time of returning to school, getting new school supplies, starting new classes, seeing old friends again and meeting new ones. Even after I was no longer in school myself, I noticed the fall back to school sales, the change in the traffic patterns around school buildings, and the start of the academic sports seasons, in particular football.

I’m talking about American football, not what the rest of the world calls football and what we call soccer. Where I live, in the deep south, football is something akin to a religion. Most everyone has their favorite team and even people like me who couldn’t care less about football check the sports scores to be able to intelligently converse with colleagues at the water cooler.

Only this year, there isn’t going to be a water cooler for many of us. Many of the games are either being cancelled or attendance is being severely limited. Tail gating parties are being required to socially distance. It’s certainly not like it used to be. And I’m starting to wonder if it will ever go back to the way it was.

I’m sure things will keep changing. We’ll develop a vaccine or at least learn to treat COVID-19 so that it isn’t so deadly. I read an article that described a simulation run that they made on the super computer at Oak Ridge recently. They now understand how the virus works much better and were even able to find several potential treatments for it. Some of them were already approved by the FDA.

But now that we’ve faced one virulent air-born virus, how long is it going to be before another one strikes? The population of the world keeps growing. We keep ignoring the ecological and biological consequences of our modern society. In fact, many in society have started rejecting scientific reasoning outright. This is a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face but the ramifications are broader than that. It’s like cutting off your own nose and your neighbors noses at the same time.

I’m concerned for our civilization. I’m not looking forward to living in the post-apocalyptic world that seems immanent at the present. What is the alternative? Working together and paying attention to the advice of the scientific community seems to be our best chance.

Take care of each other and yourself. Stay home if you can. Wear a mask if you must go out. Wash your hands frequently. Maintain social distance. We’ll get through this together.