My church is collecting stories from parishioners on how we are coping with The Quarantine. Here is my contribution:
As I write this, it is day 47 of my confinement. I am fortunate in that I have been able to work from home, and this has served to keep me occupied and out of trouble during the day.
In the afternoons and weekends I have been taking what I have learned from the garden managers in the church garden and applying it to my own garden. My goal even before the pandemic was to create a “pollinators’ oasis” in my backyard. Now I finally have the chance to do this. Poppies, calendulas and nasturtiums have taken over one whole side of the yard, and I am eagerly awaiting my milkweed and borage plants to bloom. A couple of years ago I got myself a good camera and finally now have a chance to play around with it to capture images of my pollinating visitors.
I got loose in the kitchen and have been making comfort foods from my mother’s and grandmother’s recipe collections. I have been experimenting with bread-making and I finally was able to bake something that resembled whole wheat bread rather than a whole wheat brick.
I have been binge-watching Downtown Abbey episodes and just finished the entire Harry Potter film series. I am currently reading The Idiot’s Guide to Zen Living, I figured out the Book of Common prayer and have been doing one of the daily offices each day.
Finally, I have been having virtual happy hours with friends through text and zoom. One friend sent me a case of wine to make sure I do it right.
The strange thing is: As much as I am eager to get back to “normal,” I think I may miss this time of comradery and self-reflection when I do.
Last year I bought myself a decent camera because I had this idea that I would be able to get back into photography. That did not come to pass because one thing after another came up to get in the way.
The shelter-in-place mandate by my county has been extended to the middle of May and my workplace will not allow us back until the end of May. So I have plenty of time on my hands. Instead of just standing by and waiting for the all-clear, I thought I would put my camera to use.
Since I cannot go anywhere, I will need to be satisfied with what I can shoot around my home and in my neighborhood. This morning I figured out how do use my long range lens. I sat on my patio for a while waiting for the hummingbirds to feed on my nasturtiums as well as house finches and Black Phoebes to splash in the birdbath. However, a murder of crows roosting in a Jacaranda tree on the property next door was creating havoc by terrorizing the mourning doves, cavorting mid-air with each other and hollering back-and-forth at full-volume. They managed to scare off all small birds in neighborhood, so all I managed were some shots of my flowers and bees. It’s gonna take a while to get that proverbial money shot.
That’s OK. It seems like I’m in this for the long-haul.
It is Day 26 of my lock down. And it is looking like this will continue at least through the month of April and probably into May. And then, from what I hear, it is going to come around again in September.
The situation has been tolerable, but now I am hearing that we should not leave the house at all, not even to walk around for exercise for at least two weeks. Now I know that is for my well-being and the safety of all around me. And it is no big deal to be asked to lay on my couch all day. So I will do it.
It will end. It will. I have no doubt. But how will I change and how will we all change when it is done? Will we go back to the old normal of being selfish, shallow, materialistic, over-privileged jerks? Or will be move giving, more reflective, more spiritual, more magnanimous individuals?
Maybe I will slip back to the old ways, though I hope not. But I do know that I am grateful for a job, a roof over my head, food in my pantry, and so far — by the grace of God — good health. If there is no other benefit than learning to be grateful, then I will have done well.