Coronavirus Days--Week 3
Shit got real this past week. Yeah, not like it's been imaginary, less than awful. For me, it's been cumulative, heightened anxiety most mornings, tiring. But this past week, the edge got sharper. Two degrees of separation--a husband and father lost the same day to the virus. A case of the virus where my brother-in-law works. A case or more of the virus in the facility where my parents live. And then this.
Governor Polis urged me and my Colorado peeps to wear masks when out in public. I panicked initially, not knowing how I might put one together, but thankfully found a simple site that showed me how to make a mask out of a napkin and rubber bands, which I had unearthed during a closet cleaning a couple of weeks ago. For the past two mornings, I donned this outfit when I set out for my 3+ mile walk with Whitman (which seemed to increase daily over this past week); walking always takes me out of my head, at least most of the time. But with the mask on, my thoughts focused on the virus during my walks, feeling the sweat and constriction, hating it all and wondering why nobody else seemed to be wearing a mask when walking their dog, running, biking, relieving their own anxiety. I imagine that over the next few days, I will make choices of moments when it might not feel necessary, when I am up and walking when I see nobody, as opposed to weekends when more people stir about around the hour I do. In my more graceful moments, wearing this getup made me realize that this is difficult, really fucking difficult, an adjustment that yields some positives, but overall, a slice of time that challenges life as I know it, as the world knows it. An unfolding story.
And like many of you, zoom has become my verb--let's zoom. But when a week includes meeting with students (I held optional zoom sessions for the first week back so that students who wished to connect, could see me face to face and chat), committee meeting, prep meeting with colleagues, recording a weekly college radio show via zoom, a happy hour, an author reading, and a meditation this morning with Pema Chodron, it feels odd and reassuring, the dichotomy of these times. I've spent more time on the phone in a week than I might in a month, connecting in lengthy conversations with friends. Change. A bit of stretching. Finding new ways to relate and feel less isolated. Less alone.
I'm holding tight, worried a bit about what this next week will bring, a week being touted in the news as "Pearl Harbor." I have a week of good food/cooking planned with Nan, plenty of work, and an awesome gift that arrived today from a friend (thanks Wendy). New routines. Unchartered stories.