Hello, dear ones. How is everyone doing out there? We have been self isolating here since the week of March 15. So we are almost ending our third week in what promises to be a long, LONG time period of hunkering down and waiting things out. This promises to be a rambling post because I don’t have anything written out beforehand but do have some thoughts I want to put out there. Just my reflections of this time.
First, I feel so lucky that this happened when we were entering Spring. Spring flowers are blooming all over our little bit of earth: daffodils, glorious forsythia, peach trees, lenten roses, and Korean Spice viburnum. Lilacs are budded out. Each morning I awake to a chorus of birdsong and can’t help but feel happy that the dear birds are going about business as usual. Weather is warmer so we can get outdoors a bit. I have seeds started in my basement light garden: spinach, lettuce, pansies, tomatoes, cottage pinks and hollyhocks. I jumped the gun (so to speak) a few days ago when the soil was warm and workable and planted snow and sugar snap peas and poppies in the garden. This is the work of hope. Hope that I will be here to tend a summer garden. Hope that seeds will sprout. Hope in the ability of nature to nourish and heal us.
I thank heaven for my husband and my animal family. I realize that so many do not have that comfort and my heart goes out to them. This week my young “girls” are one year old, and I plan to make a chicken birthday cake for them. They deserve a nice treat. They have been laying well and I feel so much gratitude to have fresh eggs every day.
What is self isolation meaning for you? For me it is a time of introspection. My family (all three children and us) are all introverts so at first we joked that we were born for self isolation. And indeed that first week felt almost like a vacation or retreat from people. I thought greedily of time spent reading books, quilting, practicing my watercolor art, writing letters, taking long leisurely walks. However, as the news grew more disturbing with every passing day, I did little of these seemingly indulgent pastimes. In fact I spent much of my day staring out the window. Pondering how we got to such a point, and feeling quite helpless. I ordered a puzzle, which sits unopened on the table.
Week 2: the week of kindness. The world seemed to glow with acts of kindness. We saw videos of people singing and clapping from balconies, enjoyed concerts from people’s backyards or living rooms, listened to lessons on kindness each evening with Steve Hartman from CBS and his children, on Facebook live. People started using Zoom for family celebrations and get togethers. People started writing poetry and posting pandemic poems full of hope that the world would emerge from this ordeal as a better, kinder place. I still hope that.
Week 3: beginning to dig in. Ok. The newness has evaporated. Television has lost its appeal. The news is frankly, terrifying. I begin to realize that perhaps the only way through this is to keep up my spiritual practice. For me it is meditation and yoga. This is when I really begin to listen to my inner voice and admit that this is going to take quite a bit more effort than I have been putting into it to remain centered and mindful. This is where I need to be gentle with myself and my partner and wade through the waves of powerful emotion that come over me suddenly.
I am hanging on to signs of hope: the sun still rises, the backyard Norway Spruce is forest green and waves its pine cones gaily in the breeze, people who drive by when I am in the front yard are waving and they never did that before. In the grocery store I lock eyes with a stranger. We greet each other and smile in acknowledgement that we are in this together. We are doing what we can. Staying in so the world can be healed. A worthwhile effort, I do believe, for us all.