For many of us, life seems to be standing still. We are sheltering – in – place, working and learning from home, and missing our recreational outlets.
We have gone from being social beings whose calendars were probably overcrowded to people who are at home with nowhere to go. It is ironic that very often we complain about not having time to read, to cook, to watch a movie, and now we are home but too stressed out to relax. I haven’t been able to focus on reading my pleasure book myself.
Yet, life must go on, and it does. The seasons have changed, the flowers are starting to bloom, and babies are being born. People are still having their cancer treatments, shelves are still being stocked with whatever the truckers are able to deliver, and those who chose careers in medicine or public service are working the front lines to keep us safe.
When we come out on the other side of this pandemic, what I will try to remember is that although the world seemed to stop, life went on.
The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.
Barry Neil Kaufman
Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have a difficult time walking long distances, and I use the word “long” very loosely. On Sunday, I took a brief stroll around my cul-de-sac and the adjoining one. It was the first time I had been out of the house in over a week, and it made me determined to get out of the house every day.
Yesterday it rained, so when the sun came out today shining brightly, I knew an afternoon walk was on the agenda. I decided to challenge myself to walk longer than on I did on Sunday, and I got a little farther. Maybe by the time this quarintine is over, I will be sauntering around the whole neighborhood.
Today I want to share a few pictures I took on my little jaunt.
Tomorrow the forecast calls for rain again, so I may have to wait until Thursday for my next outdoor adventure, but I am hoping to go even a longer distance than today. I am going to be looking for more signs of hope and beauty, and peace. They are all around us if we only look.
Today was the hardest day so far since I left school on March 12th. I don’t know if it was waking up to rainy day, or the realization that this really is the new normal. Last week I was searching for the right word for what I was feeling, and I finally figured out I was searching for the word paralyzed.
Maybe paralyzed isn’t quite the right word; at first I did feel a little paralyzed – like on a snow day when you just keep watching the news to see how many inches you could expect. But actually I was more in denial even though I had been following the spread of COVID-19. Working on getting out work to my students took up most of my time, and didn’t give me too much time for anything else.
This morning I woke up feeling sad – sad that this is my new normal. The day didn’t get better. Our governor declared a stay-at-home order for the next two weeks for my home county. I was staying at home anyway, but that is not the same as being ordered to stay home. Later, I got notified that I would have a 90 minute window to get into my classroom and pick up what I needed for an extended period at home. Going back into my classroom was sad, knowing that I had no idea when/if I will be back this year.
Things changed about an hour after I got home though. As I sat on the couch, I started to feel a little better. I decided that it’s okay to feel sad, to let myself shed a few tears. This is definitely a storm the likes of which we have never seen before, but I refuse to be paralyzed and wait for it to pass. I will keep dancing in the rain even though I don’t dance that well…lol.
A family doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be united.
Today, we had a family “meeting.” My son initiated a family “Happy Hour” via Zoom, and at 4:00 my siblings & their partners, their kids & their partners (most of them), and seven collective grandkids were all online together in a Brady Bunch matrix.
Some were drinking; some were snacking, and some were coralling kids, but all of us were present for almost 40 minutes. There was the normal sibling ribbing, joking, and laughing. We didn’t really talk about anything really important, and there were some lulls in conversation probably because we weren’t used to being “together” but not physically together, yet it was still nice to be together.
When the session ended, I had this really warm feeling in my heart. We certainly aren’t perfect, and we don’t gather as a whole group except at some holidays and even then it gets harder as the family grows, but we are tight. I know that if I needed anything at all I can count on my family and vice versa. This is how family should be.
What really made me feel so good is that I know my mom and dad would be so proud of all of us. My mom especially always hoped that after she was gone we would still be close to one another. Mom, I am pretty sure you’re smiling down on us today.
Today I worked from my second purchase of the week, How to Draw Almost Everything by Chika Miyata. I choose to try my hand at drawing some flowers. Some turned out looking like the examples in the book – some not so much.
I choose to start with flowers in honor of Spring. Seeing people post pictures of the flowers popping up in their gardens was my inspiration. Spring is a time of new life; the trees budding and flowers blooming bring splashes of color to the brown canvas of winter. My sketches inspired this poem.
Today I spent some time in my new book, Old Friend from Far Away, by Natalie Goldberg. The first exercise, Go, was to spend time writing “I am looking at…”
So as I looked around from my place on the couch, these are some of the things that I was looking at…
My neighbors social distancing in a circle in the cul-de-sac enjoying this almost 80 degree afternoon
Normally empty driveways filled with cars
Small decorative flags blowing in the breeze while my flag holders remaing barren
My coffee table devoid of the week’s mail
Tiny bottles of hand sanitizer – the peach bellini is my favorite
Pictures of my grandkids who I haven’t hugged in a couple of weeks
My purse which has been in the same spot since I last left the house a week ago.
Being home all day, I am beginning to notice things that I have been missing during my “normal” life. The life that had me zipping in and out of my home like a tourist – back for dinner and sleep after a day of exploring. I am hoping to spend these days of self-isolating getting to know my home again. It certainly could use some TLC. I am hoping to get to do some things that normally get pushed to summer when I have more time.
I am looking at all the things that we have amassed over the 30 years we have lived here. Some hold cherished memories while other just hold dust. Having more time on my hands has given me the opportunity to see things that have totally gone unnoticed – things like how my bath towels are getting a little ratty around edges.
In the spirit of looking for the little things, I am going to reframe my self-isolating as rediscovering.
I think it’s important to find the little things in everyday life that make you happy.
As most of the world, I have been too stressed out this week, and have been dealing with a headache that never seems to end. At the beginning of the week, my husband asked me to order something from Amazon, so I just had to order a little something for myself too. 😉
This afternoon, I was very excited to get a text telling me these two gems had appeared at my door. (My husband’s things came too,) These are my everyday little things that made me happy today. Books. One to help me be a better writer. One to help me learn how to draw. (That could take some doing.)
These made me happy today, and I am counting on them to make me happy in the days ahead. They give me something to look forward to at the end of my “school day.” I don’t want to put my head in the sand, but I would like a little escape from the news, and fears, and stress of this new normal. Books and reading and writing do that for me.