My wife, Evelyn, our daughter, Cammie Jo, and our son, Wesley, and his wife, Whitney, have all planted gardens, a very healthy thing to do during these pandemic days. Cicero wrote, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

I draw great comfort from what the great Roman orator said. Books, flowers and vegetables all facilitate the nurturing and growth of the heart and mind and body and soul. Libraries and gardens are in it together, healing agents for pandemic days.

Even in those long hard days in exile in Babylon, yearning each day for a return to Jerusalem, the children of Israel were instructed by Jeremiah, the prophet of the Lord, to:

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters.” Even in a time of what they hoped was a temporary exile, Jeremiah instructed the sons and daughters of Judah to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.” We are to seek peace and prosperity even during a pandemic. Build houses. Plant gardens. Live in the moment, even though the moment might be daunting.

Pat A. Fleming wrote a poem that should give us hope to endure even a world-wide pandemic:

Live in the moment,

Just take it all in.

Pay attention to everything,

Right there and right then.

Don’t let your mind wander

To what’s coming next.

Cherish this moment

And give it your best.

Don’t let tomorrow

Make you rush through today,

Or too many great moments

Will just go to waste.

And the person you’re with,

In that moment you share,

Give them all of your focus;

Be totally there.

Laugh till it hurts,

Let the tears drop.

Fill up each moment

With all that you’ve got.

Don’t miss the details;

The lesson is there.

Don’t get complacent;

Stay sharp and aware.

It can take but a moment

To change your life’s path.

And once it ticks by,

There is no going back.

In just 60 seconds,

You may make a new friend.

Find your true love,

Or see a life start or end.

You become who you are

In those moments you live.

And the growth’s not in taking

But in how much you give.

Life is just moments,

So precious and few.

Whether valued or squandered,

It’s all up to you!

If nothing else, the coronavirus should give us an opportunity, without the ability to travel as we normally would, to know ourselves and the place where we are better. T. S. Eliot wrote:

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

“Home and Away” is published each week in the Murray Ledger & Times. Duane Bolin is professor emeritus of history at Murray State University. To reach the author, email

Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.

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