Among the many vulnerabilities exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, surely the catastrophe created by the neoliberal commodification of elder care must rank among the most acute, with devastating losses suffered within nursing homes, including both residents and caregivers.
Now comes Lynn Casteel Harper, presently Minister of Older Adults at The Riverside Church in the City of New York and author of On Vanishing: Mortality, Dementia and What It Means to Disappear. Released during the early days of the pandemic as it spread throughout the United States, the book offers a luminous exploration into the gradually descending darkness of dementia, advocating for alternative elder care practices that support those afflicted to “vanish well”.
Excerpts from a recent interview below, with masks relayed from the website of William Utermohlen.
MASK WITH RED NECK
MASK WITH BLUE EYES
Aware that the pandemic has severely attacked vulnerable communities of color, including tribal communities whose members may not have access to adequate health care nor clean water, we turn to a young voice from the Navajo Nation (Diné), Alastair Lee Bitsóí, relayed from the pages of the Navajo Times. Excerpts below, with images from the studio of Tony Abeyta.
During this time of year, we reflect on the mirabile mysterium, the word made flesh; that explosive presence of the divine as expressed through the birth of Jesus.
In the story of Mary, we are also reminded of the sacred nature of words; that the power of speech itself might well be considered as a sacred offering. It would then follow that when we abuse said power to deceive, manipulate or incite violence against each other or against other sentient beings, we are performing acts of profound desecration.
In the spirit of such reflections, a recent interview caught our ear, with Karen Armstrong discussing key themes explored in her magnificent and essential book, The Lost Art of Scripture. Excerpts below, followed by a link to a spirited performance of the Jacobus Gallus setting for Mirabile Mysterium, as performed by La Main Harmonique.