By Ronnie Lovler

This baby goat was born in June 2020, on the farm at the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock, North Carolina. Photo by Ronnie Lovler

Authors Note: Just for a moment I wanted to reflect on something other than politics, COVID-19 and all the social turmoil that has marked our collective lives in 2020. This tale is my Thanksgiving gift to all of you.

I am always intrigued and fascinated by the goats of Connemara, the descendants of the original heritage herd that was bred here when poet laureate Carl Sandburg, and his wife, Lillian, lived on…

By Ronnie Lovler

Lizzie Jenkins, founder of The Real Rosewood Foundation

By Ronnie Lovler

Some people have been struggling for years to let us know that Black Lives Matter, even before Black Lives Matter came to the fore of our collective consciousness. Lizzie Jenkins is one of those people.

Jenkins, a historian now in her 80s, is the founder of The Real Rosewood Foundation in the small town of Archer in north-central Florida. The foundation exists to preserve knowledge, awareness and cultural sensitivity about a massacre that wiped out a small African American community in Florida almost a century ago.

Jenkins is committed to keeping the story of…

This Is CNN

By Ronnie Lovler

One Zoom page from our CNN reunion, a bit crooked because I was so excited.

A few weeks ago, I needed a brief respite from 2020. No need to share my litany of complaints — you live in the same world that I do. I desperately needed a break from our domestic and global headaches and heartaches.

I got lucky –with an invitation to participate in a virtual CNN 40th anniversary reunion and see faces and connect with people from my past. …

By Ronnie Lovler

Maria Ressa at a recent conference. Photo courtesy of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Maria Ressa is a shining light as a journalist who personifies integrity and persistence in the way she does her job. She has always done this.

On June 15, 2020, as expected, she and her former researcher were found guilty of cyberlibel, or libel through the Internet. The sentence was handed down by a Manila court, and Ressa and Reynaldo Santos, Jr. face six years in prison, pending appeals.

Ressa has been a journalist in Asia for more than three decades and in 2012, she co-founded Rappler, the leading independent news site in the Philippines. Her accolades…

By Ronnie Lovler

A mural in Gainesville, Florida, ahonors the life of Breanna Taylor. Taylor, an EMT, was shot and killed by police in her own home in Louisville, Kentucky in March. Questions about her death are being raised again in the nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis in May.

Today I am experiencing the same feelings of discord, dissonance, and social disarray that I did at least twice before in my lifetime. Once was in 1967 when my hometown of Newark, New Jersey, erupted in riots, provoked then as now by episodes of racial injustice. The other was in 1970, as I was finishing up my senior year at Ohio State University during the national anti-Vietnam War campus protests.

Back then I felt totally disconcerted and distressed by what was happening. today I feel exactly the same as I do about what is happening now.


Sunrise at St. Augustine Beach, Florida on May 22. Notice how the sun is keeping its social distance.

My new normal began with a drive to the beach at St. Augustine, FL. It is one of the closest beaches to where I live in Gainesville and I just couldn’t resist the idea of a socially distant sunrise.

As I left my home that day, as I do every day now, I make a final check before I go out the door. Keys? Check. Phone? Check. Wallet and ID? Check. Mask? Check. That’s my new normal. A mask has become just like the ubiquitous American Express Card… don’t leave home without it.

I am acclimating to my new normal…

by Ronnie Lovler

People wait in a socially-distanced line to get take-out food from a downtown restaurant in Gainesville, FL

Florida has re-opened, in a kind of, sort of type of way. Or I guess it depends on where you go. Head to the Florida beaches, and it might as well be a normal spring weekend before COVID-19 came to town. In Orlando, big box hardware stores are packed. In Gainesville where I live, things are going more slowly. Facial coverings are mandated in closed public spaces. We are transitioning from completely mandated shelter-in-place to something I call shelter-in-public.

Personally, I’m in a quandary. What to do? Where to go? I’m not comfortable putting aside social distancing…

By Ronnie Lovler

Here I am, taking a break from walking in a Gainesville, FL city park.

Walk, walk, and walk. I’ve got to keep the body moving and get some fresh air. I do this in Gainesville, FL the city I call home. Most days, I go out for one or two walks, mornings with two friends and often with another friend for a second walk in the afternoon. Sometimes we get inspiration from signs posted along the way. Who could not be motivated by this invitation for Bike-Thru Beer from a local brewery located just outside a downtown park? Walk-Thru beer also works for those of us on foot.

By Ronnie Lovler

Out for a walk with my fabric mask in place.

It’s not exactly akin to the Year of Living Dangerously, but there is something about the current situation that brings to mind that movie. Maybe it is simply the title that makes me think of my weeks of living dangerously, each time I go to the supermarket or pharmacy and expose myself to other people. Or the moments when I really lived dangerously and invited a friend to sit on my back porch to share a bottle of wine from separate glasses while we sat a safe six feet apart.

I, of course, am not living…

Ronnie Lovler

Ronnie Lovler is a writer and editor, working on a memoir about her time in Latin America and her ongoing exploration of Western North Carolina.

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