I haven’t written in a while because how could I write when I didn’t know who I was? How do any of us live when what we thought was normal suddenly disappears, when routine and certainty is gone? How do we understand anything when our reality is so different and our thoughts and feelings have been jarred and muddled?
I’m a control freak, an “all-the-ducks-in-row” creature. I guess it is the survival tactic I acquired during my chaotic childhood. There was alcoholism in my family. I’m also a news junkie, I watched sick people filling the halls of the Wuhan hospitals and ordered my first masks from Amazon on January 26.
I’m in my 13th week of this thing called “the new normal”. I am getting out more with my masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing. I can write now because I can see myself again. But my image is still a bit blurry around the edges. Sometimes the lost feeling comes back and I have to hold still and stop the uneasy vibrations inside me. But there is hope and the beginnings of wholeness
My points of reference, the present and the future are unstable because of the pandemic but something strange has taken the place of these two life markers. I’m going back to past things that brought me joy. It’s like I’m a tourist leisurely walking through an art gallery seeing pictures of a long ago me who is smiling and doing rewarding things. I’m rich in time now and like a wealthy patron, I take the imagines off the wall and they become a part of me once again.
I started with baking. I used to do it all the time but lost the skill. I feared the chemistry, the failure and the waste. But I’m baking again.
I’m exploring my woods like I used to. Going off the usual trails, I have found new treasures in new places that I’ve never noticed during my decades here.
For many years, I knew I should cut down the small trees and bushes in the understory so I could see through the wood more easily. That goal is being achieved and, as I do, I have been gathering and burning deadfall from winters long forgotten.
I built my firepit last year in hopes of sitting by a fire with coffee and books. I never got around to it but now I have. I have gone back to reading fiction, enjoying the beautiful words of skilled writers. I usually read only nonfiction. But I’ve moved away from my habit of cutting away at information from these books by picking at the table of contents. Alway feeling short on time, I rushed through pertinent chapters without really appreciating all that the authors wanted to teach me.
It’s been a long time since I’ve sat still by my big picture window, in silence just to be. Now I’m being rewarded.
I used to have a huge vegetable garden. This spring I have planted again, just a few things. I’m having fun staging ridiculous things around my young sprouts to scare away my hungry wildlife. It’s working.
Lately, I’ve returned to two old hobbies I used to love, sewing and painting.
And my biggest return to the past is the fact that I’m wearing my long uncut hair in a ponytail, something I haven’t done since elementary school. This amazes me.
For the longest time during the pandemic, I was frozen. I spent hours watching the news and youtube videos about the virus trying to understand it, control it. I was so uncomfortable with this strange catastrophic event, disorientated in the present and totally clueless and scared about the future. There was no choice but to go back to the things in the past that had brought me happiness. I know many of my readers and friends are doing the same. I tell everyone I’m fortunate to talk with to stay safe and healthy. Now, I add another wish, for them to be happy. We have the time now to explore, notice nature, plant seeds, and create beautiful new things. We need to draw from what is around us and within us. This is our new normal but we can make it work.
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8 thoughts on “Confessions of a Covid Captive”
such a positive way of being…….so important……
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Thanks, Jo. Please stay safe and well…and please stay happy.
Enjoyed this. I’ve walked in the narrow band of woods here and seen plants I didn’t recognize. Birds visiting the feeders are mostly familiar, but their antics amuse the two humans and fascinate the cat. I saved the life of a chipmunk yesterday: he was treading water in his futile attempt to escape the 5-gallon bucket of rainwater at the corner of the porch. I scooped him out with the empty sour cream container that I use to water the planters of flowers in and around the yard. And so it goes… Joanne
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We both love nature and are so lucky to so intimately live with it. I’ve been sitting on my deck just now observing the very tops of my trees and listening to the birds. A tiny voice nagged at me to get going but a greater voice said “be still”. Slowly feelings and thoughts formed and the words for my next blog post formed just the right patterns and notes. It will be called “Testimony”. Thank you, Joanne, for knowing and understanding.
You seem to be keeping busy. I’d love to come sit at your fire pit and eat the bread and read or do nothing but watch. And I think I have that sewing machine. I don’t love sewing but I’ll never give up that machine. It was my mother’s and can sew anything.
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If it was not for the virus, I was going to take an 80 day road trip through the US south. I would have met you someplace for lunch. As fellow writers/blogger, I hope someday our paths will cross. I enjoy your writing.
Thanks. I enjoy yours also. I was planning New Mexico and back to Michigan. We will meet someday.
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Yes, we will!