Yeah, me neither.
For the last few nights, I find I can go to sleep at night, but wake up early and can’t go back to sleep. But, since I do not have a job to go to in the morning, I have decided to embrace the beauty of the dark hours before the dawn… both literally and metaphorically.
Yesterday was Sunday and it was quieter than usual. My husband and I went out just once. We actually drove about a mile away to walk through a local green space in an older housing development near here. Usually I would walk there and back, but my foot still hurts. In any case, we walked through what was essentially a lovely oak grove, with a stream running through it thanks to the recent rains. We saw two different families enjoying the outdoors… one family had older kids and they were just standing around talking. The other family had two little boys, who were running and biking around their parents who sat in the grass, thankful I’m sure for the space and time to let their kids play. There were two teenagers sitting on a log who totally ignored us, and a “gang” of young boys riding their bikes. Except for the teenagers, everyone waved and was friendly, but everyone kept their distance.
We also got gas at a fairly empty gas station. And then went home.
It rained a lot yesterday afternoon and evening, which was lovely and somehow both comforting and ominous. That is kind of what it feels like most of the time, actually. It is comforting to be home with my partner, my best friend. I count myself incredibly lucky to actually like the person I am stuck in the house with… I know that isn’t true for everyone. And I also know I am lucky to have a roof over my head, a comfortable house, enough room and supplies to do what I love to do. So being home is, for me, comforting.
But being home so much is also ominous. The grey clouds that hung out all day yesterday seemed appropriate, an outer manifestation of the inner clouds that are hanging over all of us. At least for most people I communicate with, there is a cloud of doubt, worry and anxiety hanging in the air. We talk about it until we can’t talk about it anymore. We read about it until what we are reading starts to be repetitive. We think about it but we cannot come to any conclusions. More than ever it is obvious to us that we are not in control. Full stop.
Which is more frightening… getting sick? or losing everything we have worked hard to obtain? or living in a world where people around us have nothing left to lose?
Imagining the worst is easy to do. Reading about firsthand experiences with coronavirus, bills being fought over by Democrats and Republicans, crowds of people not honoring shelter-in-place orders, fears of what “they” are going to do to curtail our freedoms because of this… these thoughts are easy to entertain.
What is difficult is imagining the good that can come of this… and yet, there are glimmers of hope. Reading about clear waters and (maybe) dolphins in the canals of Venice makes me smile. We were married in Venice and it holds a special place in my heart. Air pollution is dropping as we all drive and fly less. Watching everyone dance and be ingenious and funny on Tik-Tok makes me happy. Reading about the dedication of the medical professionals, truckers, store clerks and others renews my spirit. And bless that guy who does Humans of New York, right? I’m also sporadically listening/reading a book called Sapiens, a different look at humans and human history that is giving me perspective on all of this.
If nothing else, this period of quarantine is giving me time to ponder big questions, the kind for which there are no answers.
So here we are. Day six for me of sheltering in place. Dreams, businesses and even people are dying all around us. So it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut said.
As another wise man (my husband) often tells me: do your best not to focus on what is dying, but look for what is yearning to be born.