Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Trudging and Rewatching

Today would have been my first morning to wake up here at home after my vacation, in a non-COVID universe.

It's the last of THAT ghost event. May will bring more ghosts.

I'm noticing many other ghost events, ongoing. Sports reports "reports" continue to be all about events that won't be happening. And meanwhile, let's all watch this sports event from a previous year that was SO GOOD.

No shade on rewatching. I mean, it's what I do with books. And when hasn't a Jane Austen adaptation been a good insomnia companion?

Rewatching is also what I do with seasons. Every year.

So, yes, I adore living here. And although I'm sorry to miss seeing family (and let's be real, wearing flipflops), there's no place I'd rather be than here.

But some days--let's just say I'm not walking lightly on the landscape. I'm not stomping-mad. Just trudging through days. Checking things off my (greatly reduced) list. Going outdoors.

Remembering "gentle." Or trying. 

Here are some more things I've seen, as I've rewatched Spring arrive.

Stay home, stay safe, keep trudging.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Happy 50th Birthday, Earth Day!

How am I celebrating? By noticing, mostly. And attempting not to judge: no "I'm so over this" or "whyyyyyy isn't it warmer?" or "where are the flowerrrrrrrssss?"

Here's what I saw.

And although I'm still not into advice and answers, if you're looking for a way to celebrate Earth Day, too, I humbly share "noticing" as a consideration.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


Did anyone else who keeps a physical, analog calendar write CANCELLED across all of April and May?

I secretly held out some hope for May, but from the first (and very welcome) announcement of closures, I knew April was toast.

And now we're at the point in April where, because we're isolating and distancing, I'm more aware of ghosts.

Or, more properly, the ghost of the life I'd set into motion for April. *

I'd planned a trip to the US, for various reasons. One of my siblings had a birthday that ends in zero, which is as good a reason as any for us to gather. Also, April is usually the month in which my stores of "being a good sport about fickle weather" are extra-low, so I plan a trip to Tucson, which is almost always sunny and warm. (Comparatively, for sure.) So the five of us were set to rendezvous to say "hi." And probably other things.

But of course we're not doing it, although the events linger on my calendar under the ballpoint pen line crossing them out. Presumably, they also linger in the multiverse in which the world was better-prepared for novel coronaviruses. 

I'm sorry to miss this trip, and the other events I had looked forward to in May (because, let's be real, those that aren't already cancelled will be). Of course I'm sad. Wistful.

I wonder if that other version of me in that other multiverse is enjoying the trip and the anticipation of the other events. I wonder what events she's anticipating that won't come to pass.

I still don't have Big Conclusions--still taking a pass on Big Meaning.

But, because I'm "stuck" here in this lovely place with its fickle, dithery spring weather, I'm fortunate to have a front-row seat to its indecision. The skiffs of snow, the ice re-forming in roadside ditches. 

The returning ducks and geese. The breakup of the ice across the bay. 

And the sunrises. All worth staying for--safe at home.

* Today, April 15, is also the date income tax is normally due in the U.S. It's also the date my father died, back in 2007, speaking of ghosts. It tickles me that a man who valued thoroughness and diligence over efficiency accomplished both inevitabilities, death and taxes, on the same day. He was a lovely, complicated soul, which we five siblings would have talked about--and will, when next we gather. A gathering that, itself, would have given him so much pleasure.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020


Some people have Things to Say.

Sometimes always, sometimes "now more than ever," they have a Need to Share "this wonderful thing I do."

Which is great. Writers. Artists. Cool.

Sometimes I read Things People Say.

I especially enjoy people's varied artistic practices, especially those practices that look at things. Like Shawna Lemay's, at Transactions with Beauty. Love love love her series of still lifes. (I entertain myself by using "stills life" as the plural.)

I appreciate those who curate (oh that word) words for us. Like Kerry Clare, who shares her Gleanings.

But sometimes I'm kind of, I don't know, done? I want to say, "Shhh."

So I tell myself that. It helps to go outdoors.


You don't have to tiptoe, but learn from me: do be careful on ice.

Sometimes, you can look up, or over, or out.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Early in our containment, I injured my hands and wrists and forearms. Let's just say I'm clumsy at the best of times, and ice can be sneaky under a fresh coating of fluffy new snow.

They're not hurt badly, and they're improving. But they're not back to "normal."

Yesterday I was changing sheets. I tried to put on the new pillowcase in the way I enjoy most--holding the pillow briefly under my chin(s) while I worry on the case at the bottom, and then holding case and pillow out from my body, giving it a jerk, and watching the pillow fall-slide into the case with a satisfying "snap" of fabric on fabric. *

Yeah, that didn't happen. My left hand and arm don't yet have quite the strength and dexterity for the snap.

So I did it another way: a more gentle way. I held the case and dragged the bottom corner of the pillow into it. I pushed and pulled and plumped and poofed, and the pillow eventually looked normal in its case.

"Gentle," I told myself as I worked. As, I recognized, I have been telling myself for several weeks.

Gentle. As I have allowed myself time to heal (one benefit about this physical injury, it's given me more deep and restful sleep). As I have noticed returning ability, like wearing pants vs. a robe, pants with buttons instead of elastic-waist pants. As I have experimented, and learned that I do indeed again have the ability to cut up that head of cauliflower and roast it.

And I've been gentle with myself in the rest of life during this lockdown, too. I have cut many many things from my to-do list. Instead, gently, I do one task--just one thing in a day, beyond the business of living. When that's done, I might do another, but I might instead spend time with my book friends, which is another form of healing.

I suspect (yet another) new normal is in my future. Less careless, I hope. More grateful for all the little and not-so-little tasks that hands and arms do during the day.

And in the world outside-beyond this pandemic wave, I hope to keep gentleness as part of my new normal. As I walk gently into the spring, I'll notice good spirits, nest-building, and scolding squirrels. I'll be aware when I feel cheerful, reasonable or not. I will notice returning skills, and growth of new ones.

And, I hope, I'll remember to be grateful.

* Let's take a moment to notice that I have a preferred way to put pillowcases on pillows. Who knew? If you'd asked me about it last week, I'd have given you a blank stare.