I think I like to remain in my head because forecasting the future can feel frightening. There is no sure way to see how this will play out. It will pass, we will begin to travel again and the fear will fade, but how will we relate to one another?

April 9, 2020

My hyacinths are bursting through, pink and purple and the tulips look ready to burst. The grass is a deep green (where there is actual grass) and is about ready for a trim. We’ve just had a run of warm days and I spent far too much time outside praying for Vitamin D to do what it does best; heal my soul.

I think I’m doing okay mentally, but then I talk to someone or listen to an argument about facemask use outside (wear one or not) and how far a molecule of virus can travel and my head goes into chaos. Too many zoom calls, though I am grateful for the media format. I need people, want to remain connected, but some of the connections bring me down.

This is a sad period, people are dying of a disease we not only have no vaccine for, but no viable way of treating either. The older I get, the more at risk I am from such random outbreaks in nature. But, if this was not a pandemic and I got sick, really sick, I would not have the fear in my body that I do now. It is a forest fire of worry and completely understandable.

We are so used to the illusion of control, we humans, and now we know we have little, aside from inside our own homes. Rob and I have not gone shopping for over a week and I’ve essentially been home since March 18. Three weeks in quarantine. I’ve left the house armed with hand wipes, anti-bacterial gel and lots of social distance to go food shopping once, to the liquor store (can you believe they tried to close those stores saying they were non-essential????) and for the drive through at the drug store for my Lorazepem which I’ve taken a few evenings to help with the brain overload.

Days are not so bad when the weather is nice, and when the weather is dreadful, I feel justified in binge watching something on television.

But I have plenty of projects to work on and enough things that provide comfort whenever I can gather my attention. Focusing is challenging. This would be the most amazing time to read, but I find it hard unless I’m in the tub or just before bed. I’m finishing “Man’s Search for Meaning” and then have another Joan Didion, “Blue Nights,” waiting on the shelf to read that I will savor like the last piece of chocolate.

Around 4 p.m., I get jumpy. I don’t want to work any longer, but it’s too early for a glass of wine. Sometimes I take a bath before dinner or Rob and I head out for a walk downtown and back just to pretend it’s all normal. But when we get to Main Street, we are fully aware that this is anything but normal. The streets are quiet, storefronts all have signs informing us of their business procedure this time: closed, open for take-out, on-line orders. 

I think I like to remain in my head because forecasting the future can feel frightening. There is no sure way to see how this will play out. It will pass, we will begin to travel again and the fear will fade, but how will we relate to one another?

Will restaurants require 6’ of distance (an arbitrary indoor safe measurement) or will we be required to wear masks whenever in public? I have allergies, a badly deviated septum and tend to breath from my mouth–this sounds like torture to me in summer.

People are kind one on one for the most part, but the vitriol on line is judgmental. That one doesn’t wear a mask, she’s stupid, there was a crowd of kids playing soccer, so and so left the house to see a friend, and so on. 

All of the reasoning behind such thoughts makes sense, but it is not a good way to live; attending to the behavior of others and thinking one knows what is best for someone else.

But at the end of the day, the only thing I know for certain is that I cannot live inside fear and worry. These emotions are there, and I suspect I will fear sickness in a new way with each passing year if I am blessed to have additional years, but to stay inside them feels like remaining a dark room even though the light switch is within reach.

Everyone has become an expert. I prefer to listen to scientists and medical experts. That’s pretty much it. I listen to Andrew Cuomo because he tells it like it is and whenever I listen to him I realize that however much I might like Jared Polis, Cuomo has that grit and determination that remains inside of me, the inner being of an East Coaster.

The sun is just about full in the sky and it’s 6:47 a.m. and in a moment I’ll get my clothes on, borrow Rob’s headphones, choose a Podcast and head out on a walk. No face mask.

So I’ll walk, come home and work on my book outline, and then have coffee with my sister-in-law, Lori. Maybe I’ll paint a bit later or doodle again. Perhaps I’ll work on my photography website. The day will unfold until it’s time for a glass of wine and though I think I’m drinking too much; I’m not very motivated to cut back right now. Whatever gets us through the day and the night.