“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” – William Blake
A good friend and I often email each other but make a habit to call periodically to hear a different voice other than the one inside our heads. It’s heartwarming to share concerns or insights as weeks of staying inside and social distancing slowly become months.
This change-maker pandemic has stolen so many identities from all of us it makes my head spin. Words to describe myself – potential volunteer, traveller, bookstore wanderer and coffee bar patron no longer apply. There are new words that settle over me like a scratchy wool sweater – solo walker, isolation diarist and 7 pm cheerleader honouring all those that stock our grocery shelves and care for the sick. An ordinary human being trying to make sense of this novel passage, thankful for caring neighbours and loving family as the earth and its population stills.
Identities that have been shed are being reborn, becoming innovators, ambassadors and life savers – truck drivers, those grocery clerks/shelf stockers we cheer for and caregivers in our long term care facilities are now first in our thoughts and so needed.
We’ve just heard from our health care officials that staying inside and practising safe social distancing is helping to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this deadly virus with mid-May an historic time to aim for re: lifting of some restrictions (safely, of course) as the world begins to take baby steps towards what is being touted as the new normal with the caveat that we might not return to the lives that we lived in December for quite some time.
On some of my neighbourhood walks, I often come across images left behind as the lockdown descended: in one business, its windows bare, I can see a book hurriedly left on the counter with the word “heaven” in its title, an eerie film still from an apocalyptic movie. I’ve noticed neighbours bringing out their lawn chairs to sit in the sun in alleyways or the park, I’m not the only one to bring out a thermos of tea or coffee, a welcome break from our couches. When I look up on these daily walks, I see people perched on their balconies reading with a steaming cup of liquid nearby, they’ve inspired me to create a reading/tea nook on my own balcony, something I will work on this coming warm weekend.
I find I falter when I think too far ahead…it’s important to be prepared and have goals to jump-start when things settle but the most pressing task for us all is to live in the moment, day to day, it’s all we can ask of ourselves. My goal is to close my eyes at the end of the day knowing I’ve reached out to everyone I need or want to, that I’ve tackled a small project or two and have thought of a new one.
There are days when I find it hard to keep motivated re: those daily solo walks but I keep pushing through the inertia and Covid-19 fatigue, this is a defining time for us all even if we didn’t cause or ask for this…there is grief woven through my days, too, as I think of all the unique human beings the world has lost. I try to honour my time here by appreciating each day even though it’s hard to keep calm and unafraid sometimes. The evaporating fragrance of my own cup of black tea challenges me to adapt, to breathe and let go.
I recall an exquisite shift last year in England on a walk down from an ancient castle through a tangled bit of woodland with Wood doves perched on winter limbs – my heart fluttered as I breathed in the sweet convergence of blessed peace, beauty and soaring harmony sensing with an inner knowledge that this could all slip away, sensing that a storm was coming and here it is.