A Covid state of mind.

I woke this morning thinking it has been some time since I have written anything down. I have been keeping diaries and journals since I was a little kid. It is hard to explain exactly what it is that writing does for me, but I just feel better when I do it. I sure do wish I felt that way about exercising.

After Joe died and my book was published I wrote my blog every day. I did that for years. Didn’t miss a day. I rolled out of bed and sat at my computer and released all of my feeling out into my blog. I haven’t reread any of those early blogs in a very long time, but they were raw and sad.

Now, we are in interesting times. It is nearly five months since John suggested that we leave our vacation in Florida early and come back home. We were in Miami and at our condo on Hutchinson Island at what now seems like the beginning of the end of life as we knew it. The streets in Miami were crowded with kids on spring break and the beach was packed with people just enjoying time in the sun. It was so nice seeing John being able to exhale and relax.

Sure, there was talk of Covid, but it seemed like something that was “somewhere else”. I would post photos of us on the beach and having drinks out at bars and I would get texts from some of my friends in Pittsburgh. They would say something like ” WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU SHOULD BE COMING HOME. WE CAN’T EVEN BUY TOILET PAPER HERE AND EVERYONE IS SHELTERING IN PLACE AT HOME”.

What? There was no shortage of toilet paper. Life was status quo on our little island. John was the one who said we needed to go home a week early. I begrudgingly said okay and we packed up and headed north. It started to sink in that something bigger than us was happening when we got on the tram at the Orlando airport and we were the ONLY two people on it. Yes, the Orlando airport was empty.

So, fast forward five months. John is still working from home. After two months of no work, I am now back at it. I have finished too many jigsaw puzzles to count. Made a few magazine bowls and I have painted more than a dozen pieces of furniture.

Thankfully, my arthritis is being controlled by medication. Without pain I am able to spend time in my garage on 6th Avenue. I can get in my car, jump on the highway and be at my garage in 13 minutes. When I do that I feel like I am going somewhere. I turn up my music and have Joni Mitchell and Simon and Garfunkel filling the air. I burn my candles and crack open my paint. I am quite happy with a paintbrush in my hand in my Covid-free environment.

Luckily the weather has been hot and sunny. During those days I am in the bucket in the backyard. It is easy to shut out the world in those 13,000 gallons of joy.

Today it looks like rain and it may be too humid to paint. So, here I am turning my thoughts and energy to writing.

I have more than one friend who is struggling with mental health right now. Like Dylan once said, “Times, they are a changin’.” Change can be hard. People have lost their jobs. Money is tight. Parents are worried about sending their kiddos to school. Teachers are concerned about how they are going to teach.

The divide becomes wider in our country. There are some who think that masks are not necessary. Think Covid is a hoax. Life should return to normal and, yes, some people will die, but it is what it is. Others wear masks, socially distance and do their best to avoid large crowds.

I had to shut the noise off in my head and do what I think is best. I stay home as much as possible. On rare occasion I go to HomeGoods or Fresh Thyme. I don’t stay home because I am fearful. I stay home because I am responsible to my family. I haven’t been to large family gatherings or graduation parties. I wear a mask when I go out.

Nearly 160,000 people have died in this country. The promise of a vaccine seems hopeful, but I can’t see that happening any time soon. So, for now, I will continue working from home. I will wear a mask when I need it. I will pray for the teachers and the students who will begin to navigate through a new path of education. I will continue to cover furniture with paint and I will be an ear for those who are struggling and reach out to me to talk.





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