During the pandemic, I developed a spiritual ritual of jogging every morning at sunrise for three miles near my home, in the company of colorful flowers, butterflies, birds, wild turkeys, rabbits and ducks. The sunrise looks different each time, depending on cloudiness, rain or snow. As a scientist, I find nature more imaginative and inspiring than people. During my thirty-minute run, I digest the events of the past day and contemplate exciting ideas for creative work in the new day which was just born.
The pandemic illustrated how vulnerable I am to the invisible, but had also been the most creative period in my career. It removed distractions from unexpected visits to my office or time wasted on commute to work and travel to public events, and improved my efficiency at work by enabling multi-tasking during online meetings or lectures. As a result, I was fortunate over the past 30 months to write about 100 scientific papers, 160 commentaries and 3 books.
The fountain of ideas for creative writing is a surprise to me. Even though I go through life attached to my body, my brain and my heart are hidden “under the hood” and so I cannot take pride in the way they operate. This constitutes a truism for all of us; we receive our body as a package delivered by our parents, like a new car from a dealer. Given that it was handed to us by external handlers, it is rather surprising that we get attached to this package and derive pride from its accomplishments. The most we can aspire for is the role of a passenger and on occasion — the role of a driver.