I’m trying to be brave.

I haven’t put on make-up in days and have taken to washing my hair every other day. Clean underwear goes on daily; but I tend to wear the same clothing over and over again. I keep forgetting to wear deodorant. I’ve been waking up at 7 instead of 5:30, but I think that might be a hangover from vacation. In Mexico I would lie in bed until just before dawn listening to the waves crash just below. What a heavenly respite from this chaotic period in history.

Mountain lions have been spotted on the streets of Boulder and the coyotes seem to have proliferated and show themselves at any time of day, not just dusk or dawn. The Colorado sky has been inordinately gray and the air dry and I long for the colors of spring and some humidity. 

When I spend time in my backyard, it is unusually quiet. No sounds of traffic or the distant and gentle rumble of our busy main street. All I hear this beautiful morning is the sound of birds and a distant hammer from a construction project.

I’ve been home for a week now, my last outing when I brought Julia to the airport to return home to Boston and I had my hair colored. The day after my salon appointment, all salons and spas were ordered closed. I felt lucky. At least I could put off the gray for a bit.

My hair stylist and I joked about the mess we would be in when this finally calmed down; gray roots, shellac nails that we stripped at home, eyebrows gone crazy and bodies screaming for massage. I think we joked to alleviate the fear and tension that is everywhere.

I walk every day craving the outdoor air, the comfort nature provides a necessity, but I’ve been moving my walks to an earlier and earlier time to avoid other people. I want solitude. Sometimes I nod to others, maybe smile, but most of the time I stay tucked inside my cocoon holding on to sanity after I move 6’ away.

Last night as we laid in bed, I turned to my husband and began to cry, telling him, “I’m scared.” We have promised to talk to one another, not to keep any worries inside regardless of how out there or potentially unrealistic the concern might be. I tend to be the worrier, he is more pragmatic. But we are both worried these days. Worried about our families, the unknown, each other.

It is hard to believe that if any of us becomes ill, we will be okay. We forget that 80% of those afflicted do not become seriously ill.

I’m trying to be brave.

Last summer while we were camping, I woke up a number of times having difficulty breathing. When I sat up, and stopped panicking, my throat would open again. But until that point, my breath seemed to get stuck in my throat. I finally lifted up my head more when I lowered myself to sleep again and that seemed to work. Asthma? Allergies? No certainty and it has not happened in a long time. But I did get an inhaler just in case.

I was sick for a week with a flu-like illness in January. One night I woke up coughing and began to choke, terrified. My doctor prescribed medication to help empty all the horrible mucus and my lungs cleared.

Being unable to breathe is the most terrifying feeling I’ve ever physically had. So, hell yes, I take this virus seriously and fight anger at all the people who don’t.

I went food shopping this early morning after a long walk and decided to go a smaller local market instead of King Soopers. The store was empty and I found enough to keep us eating healthy for another week or so. No, I didn’t find toilet paper, but we don’t need it yet. I used a rag to pick up my food, used enough hand sanitizer to dry out my already dry skin and was grateful to shop in a store with no crowds. The tiny social outing fed me.

In some ways I was born for quarantine. I like solitude and relax in the awareness that no social requests will be coming my way. I’m taking two virtual classes, have set up some Zoom meetings and have time to think and plan without distraction. Walking, riding, virtual yoga and weights at home keeps the horrible jitters at bay.This Friday I will attend virtual services at a local temple. Writing has been a challenge, but my words are beginning to find their way to the page.

I suspect no one is really listening right now, anyway.

I’m not a “Five Steps to Anything,” kind of writer or reader because I believe that life is far more individual and complex than a simple five steps. Every challenge in my life has resulted in a deep craving desire for information. A few days after 9/11, I read a book that calmed me immensely, “Taliban.” That is my personal way of giving the bogey man reality and form and keeping him from developing too much power over me.

I’m scared, worried, and yet hopeful and trying to be brave. How are you?

Written on March 23, 2020. Share your story about a day in your world during the time of Coronavirus. If you are interested, reach out (robin@ourstoriestoday.com) and we can talk about getting you on line at Our Stories Today.