Uncharted Territory

Coronavirus, COVID-19 … it is alarming and consuming all of our attention, worldwide. (I had published this, and already have to update it). On March 21 Governor Ige mandated that effective 3/26, anyone, resident or visitor, flying into Hawaii must self-quarantine for 14 days. Today, March 23, he proclaimed that all persons in the state must stay at their home or place of residence, effective until April 30. There are exceptions for essential businesses and operations. My interpretation is coffee farming and operations can still continue. Just a week ago, life on the islands was going the way the rest of the country was rapidly moving, without yet being mandated: bars should be closed; restaurants should be open just for takeout and delivery; state parks were closed or closing; social gatherings should be limited to ten people.

Hawaii might have it easier than other states because of its warmer climate. It seems that COVID-19 might be slowed, but not stopped, with warmer weather. If you have access to the New York Times, you can read, “Warmer Weather May Slow, but Not Halt, Coronavirus.” If you can’t read it, here at least is the study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to which they refer, “Will Coronavirus Pandemic Diminish by Summer?

Last week, March 15, Californians aged 65+, that includes Bea, were directed to stay isolated at home. She can always eat off Bea’s bounty (I recounted the edibles she was growing a year ago in this post). Less than a week after that directive, all Californians were told to shelter in place. One evening my brother, who lives in San Francisco, went to three stores and was unable to find pasta or coffee, only decaf. (He wasn’t looking for toilet paper).

I read that coffee futures have gone up since there’s some uncertainty about the international coffee supply chain. This isn’t the original article I read, but something I recently found when searching, “Even coffee supplies under threat amid global transport woes.

Don’t forget there are domestic sources for coffee — in Hawaii and now California. Bea’s Knees coffee is much more affordable than what I recently saw announced on Instagram, coffee from The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA. $75 for five ounces; that’s $225 for less than a pound. More details were on the Frinj site. My friend in Carlsbad who’s in the floral business gave me a little inside scoop on Ecke and Mellano as “credible names in the international floral agriculture industry & Frazee is a big name in So. Cal.” And see this blog post, if you want to see what I wrote earlier about California coffee.

For our small business, so far it is actually pretty much business as usual. No one’s sick or knows anyone who’s sick, and we’re taking the precautions we can. Coffee is still roasted, shipped, and delivered according to schedule. The majority of our customers are domestic. Customers are adjusting their orders since they plan to be working from home and staying home more than usual. We have the green beans, no risk there. Will our people stay healthy and will this business be allowed to continue to work, roast, and package? Will the USPS and FedEx infrastructure still be able to deliver as usual?

The coffee trees … they’ll be fine. They just grow and do their thing for the next months. Harvest is still months away. If the tree maintenance (pruning, fertilizing, etc.) can’t be done as well as usual due to personnel downtime for illness or not being allowed to work, that’s OK. Harvest time might be impacted. We all know the future is uncharted territory. We’ll worry about that later.

Are there moments, even now, when you know you are fine? Or with these unfamiliar situations, you even see a silver lining? A pulling together and heightened appreciation for your loved ones? Let’s try not to let our anxiety about the future take over our present lives. Let’s all try to take deep, nourishing breaths and handle what comes our way with as much grace as we can possibly muster. We, the whole word, really are in this altogether.

Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.

Sarah Ban Breathnach

2 thoughts on “Uncharted Territory

  1. P.s., Yesterday, a podcast guest remarked that this pandemic may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience similar in that sense to the 1918 pandemic and the two world wars. How we are individually affected, how we are coping day-to-day, may be of interest to our children and grandchildren. With that in mind, I intend to resurrect my blog with the title, COVID-19. The entries may not be very interesting to contemporaries, reflecting my life these days – not very interesting, but may be worth chronicling for those who are looking back from a COVID-19 free perspective.

  2. Thanks for posting this particular essay, Sharlene. In these times of (semi) isolation, it is helpful to learn about how others are faring. Your concluding paragraph and the Sarah Ban Breathnach are inspiring.

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