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.