Coronavirus Days--Week 10
New normal? Nothing usual, expected, typical when I look at what life is these days. A drawerful of masks. Careful calculations of how long I can defer going to the store, continuing to avoid contact with people. Not remembering the last time we gathered with another couple, the last time I grabbed a beer with a friend, the last time I could make a plan to look forward to.
When we first started sheltering in place, I eagerly signed up for free zoom readings with favorite writers, thrilled to have the time to just sit once a week and listen to someone read, luxuriating in words. I'd watch and listen to Rufus Wainwright play me a daily song on instagram, usually in his robe at the piano. But with time, I grew tired of staring at a screen for entertainment, feeling the distance more than the connection. Today, though, I decided to spend the afternoon, listening to Yo Yo Ma's performance of Bach's solo cello suites, staring out into the day's steady flow of rain. The mournful cello, the intensity of the instrument alone, a reminder of our isolation. The reverence, fitting on this day that many will one day recall by The New York Times heartbreaking front page demonstrating the "incalculable loss."
Yet, I see photos on the interwebs of people hanging with other people, strolling the beaches, planning gatherings. People I know have safe socially distanced visits in their yard with just a few people. I don't even want to sit on the pool's edge and dip my toes. I feel safest in my yard, hanging out, napping, staring at birds and the sky with Whitman.
Several times during the two plus hour concert, I started crying, allowing myself to shed a bit of grief that has been piling on with the weeks.
Tomorrow brings more of today and yesterday and the unknowing that perhaps is the steadiest I can count on. I wonder, when I am ready to venture beyond the steady of my backyard, when I can reunite with friends I so dearly miss, how we will measure our connection in six feet and not wrap ourselves in the familiar of a hug.