My first official “social distancing” blog post this Saturday March 21, 2020. Previously I was writing for an online organization that ceased to exist as of 1/ 1/2020. While searching for a new writing home I decided to take the plunge and start my own blog! So basically, and currently, I am writing for my 6 subscribers. Well, five since my brother subscribed twice. Oh, but wait 4 subscribers since one is a troll but a troll, I am familiar with so half a subscriber since I doubt, he will read the same blog twice. Build subscribers I must!
Today like yesterday and the day before that and I suspect for the many days ahead life will feel more like the Ground Hog Day movie starring Bill Murray. Run, shower, eat, walk, try to sleep and repeat. The day is occupied with trying to make life as “normal” as possible but there is nothing normal about what is happening now in our country and in the world. Our once busy home in Vermont hosting friends and relatives is quiet now. Not even the sound of the heat coming on is filling the empty cozy bedrooms upstairs
My favorite local food market happens to be one of the very few options in our remote area. The doors have officially closed to public shopping, but online shopping has become virtually and instantaneously available. Desperate times breeds swift and immediate creativity to ensure continuity. Amazing to me how quickly we react and tackle a learning curve when survival is at stake. I remember when we were living in London just a quarter mile from Kensington Palace when Princess Diana perished in a tragic car accident in Paris many years ago. Waking up to the very sad news one August morning in 1997 we did what many people were doing and wandered down the empty High Street in disbelief. The Kensington High Street was normally burdened by traffic and the sound of black diesel cabs but this August 31st only pedestrians were employing the street leading to and from Kensington Palace. What was remarkable to me was that by early morning flower vendors were everywhere. Without exception people were purchasing and carrying bouquets of fresh flowers for the makeshift memorial outside the palace. How this happened and where they came from was mind boggling…what we do and what we can achieve in extraordinary moments in time is powerful and hopefully what will safely bring us all into the future and out of this current circumstance.
I ordered groceries yesterday for curbside pickup. Curbside pick-up? I can’t remember the last time I thought or better yet even used the word curbside but voila it has made a resurgence and its popularity may be a lifesaving measure. Being in vogue and trending phrases have very new meanings these days. Social distancing is the newest of buzz phrases but packed with meaning and implications for our health and well-being. I feel more comforted that I can order groceries seeing we live quite remotely. I am always more confident and self-assured after the first time I do something different for the first time. Placing that initial order, learning the new drill is a step forward but in what direction? I can’t help but worry and wonder how long this process will last? Will this also change? How much more threatened can we feel? How much more insecure…I don’t think I want the answer to that question just yet. As my sister would say “this is exactly why we don’t have crystal balls.”
Maybe by slowing down, staying close to home and even closer in contact with friends and family we are investing more in those we love and care about. Listening more closely to what and how something is being said. Possibly without external busy schedules our focus returns to the cherished friendships and beloved family members? Nothing lasts forever and there has been no time I can remember that has brought that point home to me as dramatically as the pandemic and the stock market crisis. We are on the precipice. So many unknowns and uncertainties for each and every household for an indefinite and undefinable time is so worrisome in this ever-increasing curious time.
I do already miss just going about my business with little thought or regard for anything standing in my way of doing what I normally do. Nothing exotic or noteworthy just doing what I do. I miss the early 6:40 am daily calls from my daughter as she would normally chat with me on her way the T just walking distance from her home but long enough to have some light conversation before both our days started. I already long for simple lighthearted conversation which seems impossible to conjure up right now. My daughter is currently in voluntary self -quarantine after just returning from a Public Health work trip to Africa, Harvard University has closed including their offices so her work from home days are open ended. Habitually I am still aware of the time she would call each morning as it has been a lovely daily routine for a number of years, but the phone remains silent. Currently our conversations happen later in the day and as with everyone I speak with I detect anxiety in her voice. We struggle to find uplifting topics and conversations, but it is incredibly important to find something happy to discuss as my daughter is expecting their first baby early this September. My son and future daughter in law have been planning their June 27, 2020 wedding for months. Sharing their excitement, hopes and dreams is something we took for granted while planning of their very special day. I remain hopeful that the day will still be theirs, but it is just too soon to say. I just wish contingencies weren’t part of our daily wedding conversation and we could go back to discussing the details of the day. As a parent I recognize that for both children these are major life events and should be purely filled with joy and not anxiety, doubt and worry. There will never be a moment when I don’t want all that is good for my children and I find my early morning 2 am slot to be more ominous than ever before. Our family like all families is struggling to understand and navigate this trying time.
Will we ever relax again? Will we meet in person again? Coffee dates? Will my snow tires be removed before the 4th of July? The journey may be singular but we are and must be in this together so we can come out the other side of this nightmare. I do believe when we all work together the greater good is served. We are creative, resilient and strong in times of great duress. Stories of extraordinary kindnesses and caring are unfolding daily. Friends, families, communities are being innovative in creative ways to stay connected during social distancing. We are the sum total of our experiences and this certainty is not only defining us but also redefining us. We will persevere and overcome this test and plight while we hold our friends and family just that much closer …