Community Reflections & Medidations

During the COVID-19 Pandemic

G. Thomas Ryan Eastham MA 

for the Eastham Public Library 


There is much in this pandemic that is sad, even heartbreaking. Living with others, you may feel the walls coming in sometimes. Living alone, the opportunities to feel lonely abound. And the problems of our world – from an inability to pay rent or mortgage, to our Wampanoag neighbors facing disestablishment, to elected officials intensifying the problems – can make the most hope-filled of us shudder. 

The darkness we sense as a pall over us, or chains around our torso, is normal. This is the first time in human history with a pandemic where 24/7 we know more than our own village. Who doesn’t feel the palpable pain and fear of so much unknowing? 

BUT, we can open the shades and windows. We can take slow and deep breaths. Deep in each of us, the flame of hope can be brightened. For some, an early formation in or continued participation in communities of faith have given us stories and practices of hope. Meditation and yoga and less “religious” modes of spirituality can be seen in many. Disciplines of mindfulness and the hard work of caring for others can also nurture hope. 

Here are some resources for deepening our inner life, our spirituality. You may find some to be inspirational. Wherever you have been in living hope, this is the time to explore ways to wrestle with darkness, to let hope burn in us, shine for us. 


From the Ireland-based Abbey of the Arts (Their purpose is “transformative living through contemplative and expressive arts”) – A poem, with music and images,“Praise Song for the pandemic:"

Praise Song for the Pandemic from Christine Valters Paintner on Vimeo.

A New Yorker interview last month with the historian Frank Snowden, on the ways epidemics have changed history.

In Time Magazine, and on their website (longer form), an important biblical scholar N T Wright wrote “Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It's Not Supposed To” It offers perspectives on lamentation and hope.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speech, “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” April 3, 1968, in Memphis, his last speech before he was assassinated. He said that there needs to be enough darkness to see the stars.

Of course, his earlier “I Have a Dream” speech instantly became the classic about dreams in the darkness, August 28, 1963.

Richard Rohr’s daily meditations, in these weeks of the pandemic, often return to this theme. See, for example March 26, 2020 - “the Dark Emotions”

Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence” begins with “Hello darkness my old friend...” It is strangely evocative in our time, especially for those who knew it from its origin in 1965 and experienced it related to those revolutions. 



Ross Douthat, in his New York Times column, wrote about hope in “Rational Panic, but Also Rational Hope.” – 3/29/20

From the dark years of World War II in England, T. S. Eliot left us “Four Quartets.” See especially Quartet No. 2, “East Coker”

Dan McCullough wrote about hope in “What energizes homeless workers?” Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, MA) (Hyannis, Massachusetts), March 22, 2020: 13. NewsBank: Newspapers (Cape Cod Times and Boston Metro Titles).

The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures have many passages on darkness and suffering, on hope and patience. These verses of Paul to the Romans are particularly appropriate: Romans 8: 18 - 30

In the Psalms, many laments give way to hope. See, for example, Psalm 22

This poem is by a frequent visitor to our library: "So Many"



See many poems or meditations in the time of pandemic by Austin Fleming, 

A website with spiritual reflections and meditations on COVID-19: 

Teresa of Avila, a famous mystic and reformer in 16th century Spain, wrote a brief and often-copied poem. “Nada te turbe”: .....”Let nothing disturb you.....” 



Assessing Information

The Town's Assessors' web-page includes fields cards, property values, sales maps, abatement information, description of the tax levy--and more...

Automobile Registration Renewal

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Car Registration web-page

Beach Information

Eastham Recreation Department's web-page includes information on beach information, stickers, summer programs, hiking and biking trails and more

Citizenship - Interested in U.S. Citizenship?

U.S. Citizen and Immingration Service

US Citizen and Immigration Service Resource Center   

Chamber of Commerce


Channel 18

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CHANNEL 18 provides information to Eastham citizens about issues, services, programs, activities and events involving local government.

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Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW)

Sea Level Rise on Cape Cod - Community Presentation

Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Cape Cod

Preparing for Sea Level Rise: Climate Vulnerability for Coastal Salt Marshes

Conflict of Interest Law Online Training Programs

State Ethics Commission

Link to the Ethics Test for Town Board Members and Staff

Connect Cape Cod

Connect Cape Cod a web-based central access point for community resources and information.  

CONNECT Cape Cod provides data, knowledge and interactive tools for effective collaboration among nonprofits, government, funders, and other stakeholders about a wide range of issues which impact the quality of life on Cape Cod.  

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Council on Aging

Senior Center

Windmill Whisperings...   The COA's Online Newletter of activities, events and helpful tips.

About the COA...

Eastham Senior Center-A Place for Mature Active Living!
Enjoy daily exercise classes, special luncheons, live music, and other great programs and services! 

Established in 1974, the COA's mission is to promote the well-being and independence of adults 59 and older.  The Eastham Senior Center provides multi-purpose programs (health, educational, social, and recreational), as well as supportive daycare, transportation, and outreach for this purpose.  The COA's continuing goal as a community resource is to maintain and enhance a quality independent lifestyle for our senior population by meeting their current and future needs.

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Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles


Eastham Part-time Resident Taxpayers Association

The Eastham Part-time Resident Taxpayers Associaton purpose is "to enhance the betterment of the whole community of the Town of Eastham, helping to improve the quality of life for part-time and full-time residents, and to provide a voice for the members in the affairs of the town."

English Literacy & ESOL

The Cape Cod Literacy Council is located at 319 Main Street in Hyannis, MA 02601. This organization provides literacy and English-language learning services for adults.

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MassFishHunt is the official online licensing and game harvest reporting system of the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game and its Divisions of Fisheries and Wildlife and Marine Fisheries.

Historical Society

The Eastham Historical Society offers several historic buildings, artifacts and displays, archives, genealogy, special lectures and events

Invasive Plant Lists and Resources

The Cape Cod Conservation District's The Dirty Dozen of Cape Cod: Invasive Plants of Cape Cod This site also includes USDA Management Plans by Species for Invasive Plants and the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England 

The Evaluation of Non-Native Plant Species for Invasiveness in Massachusetts (with an annotated species list) from the Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group

IPANE - The Invasive Plants Atlas of New England This is Citizen Science at its best!  The Invasive Plant Atlas of New England's (IPANE) mission is to create a comprehensive web-accessible database of invasive and potentially invasive plants in New England that will be continually updated by a network of professionals and trained volunteers. The database facilitates education and research that will lead to a greater understanding of invasive plant ecology and support informed conservation management. An important focus of the project is the early detection of, and rapid response to, new invasions.

Outsmart Invasive Species AppThere's An App For That

Outsmart Invasive Species App (for Android and IOS) is a mobile version of IPANE (Invasive Plant Atlas of New England and allows IPANE users to report sightings of invasive plants directly in the field.

The Outsmart Invasive Species Project is a collaboration between the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (MA DCR) and the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystems Health at the University og Georgia

Plant identifying apps from Share it Science News by educator Sarah Benton Feitlinger 

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Native Plants of Cape Cod

Native Plants suitable for the cultivitated Cape Cod landscape from the Cape Cod Commission

Native Shrubs, Grasses and Groundcovers and Native Wildflowers and Trees from the Natural Resources Convervation Service (USDA) in Amherst 

Nauset Marsh

High Quality Maps from USGC
These high-resolution maps were produced from multiple photographic images (March 1, 2016) taken by a permitted research drone flight between the National Park Service and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Nauset Neighbors

Nauset Neighbors is a membership organization whose mission is to help seniors stay in their homes and remain active in the community for as long as possible.  Volunteers provide a caring service that makes it easy for seniors to get rides to appointments, expand their contacts with others, and get help with some of the complexity in their lives.  Members pay an annual fee of $75 for a single member or $95 for a household.

Pond Information (Environmental)

Eastham Water Management Committee

Eastham Water Management Committee Reports:

Action Plan for the Town of Eastham Ponds. Final December 2011

Eastham Freshwater Ponds: Water Quality Status and Recommendations for Future Activities Final Rpt

Guide to Aquatic Plants in Massachusetts

Water Management Committee

Registry of Deeds

Barnstable County REGISTRY OF DEEDS


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