There’s also that “where did summer go?” feeling, of course all the more potent during the summer of COVID-19. Lots of changes of well-set plans, rescheduled events and celebrations, and with uncertainties still lingering, even our hallowed sports are adapting, and to me more regrettably, many music and dramatic performances, and art venues of all types have been flat out canceled.
Ofttimes recently I’ve considered my impatience in relation to my mother’s life experiences. She’s 93 and so grew up during the Great Depression and then came of age during WW II. Both events shook everything about her society, and neither had a defined endpoint in sight for several years. Many folks (including her) had family members die in service during a war that encompassed the globe, and where “victory” was not a given. It’s hard to imagine how that type of uncertainty weighs on a person, nation, or world. Those who persevered through five years or more of hell, were tempered in ways that make complaints about masks or social distancing seem like childish whining.
Of course our challenges are not at all the same. Yet I acknowledge there IS a distinct difference between enduring hardships with others and doing so “alone.” I admit I’m tired of the isolation and social cautions (I’m not disregarding them, but will be very happy when they are safely eased). I’ve made precisely two trips out of the county since March, and like many, have narrowed my life to essentials, mostly only “traveling” within a mile to get groceries, a bit further to buy materials for work and be at worksites. Meantime, a half year has passed. I didn’t “do” as much away from my home, but it took a while for me to move beyond feeling enervated and at times depressed. As the new normal took root, I’ve come to roll with it, eating at home, making almost all of my meals, spending more time directly in my neighborhood, appreciating more deeply the richness of local and home-grown. I’m hopeful other’s recognized the valuable resources within their immediate communities as well.
I’ve eaten pretty much every meal at home on my front porch—in part because it offers a slight (albeit distant) interaction with others who may happen to pass by. But also because my connection to the non-human-built environment has grown deeper during this time. Birds of all sorts randomly flit by, insects come toward the lamp light or candle or iPad glow on my table. The crickets are still chirping away, even as I write this, but more slowly on these cooler evenings. In this time of no mingling with non-shared-residence companions, “it” has become my “companion.” I feel more at peace when immersed in it. Whether I’m puttering in my simple garden beds, walking through the hood, or floating on the river.
My time in the river has been a life line, beginning last year and right through COVID, directly helping me keep my center. Each float in the tube is familiar and soothing and percolated with magical instants. Sometimes it’s as simple as a kingfisher calling out it’s staccato song, a child waving as I float by, a flock of swallows performing an impromptu ballet against the clouds, or the sunset light shimmering on the water. I do my best to savor them all, one day, one float, one moment at a time.