For several years now, I’ve participated in a delightful photography/creative writing experiment that was created by two of my favorite bloggers, Anju, who writes This Labyrinth I Roam, and Norm, who writes Classical Gasbag. They thought it would be interesting to see what people all over the world were doing/seeing/experiencing at the same point in time. As Norm explains it, in N-N-1 the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (they should be the same), and the 1 stands for one time.
The subject I chose for this N-N-1 was Quarantine. Our worlds have been turned upside down by COVID-19. What are you and/or your family and/or your community doing to cope during these strange times?
I received a variety of wonderful submissions, showing that we each have different ways of living, which is as it should be, and in fact always has been. But I also found it very comforting to know that when all is said and done, we’re all in this together.
Thank you to everyone who participated! Stay safe everyone!
Driving for Grandma and Grandpa,
Running their errands, buying food
And picking up prescriptions,
Brightens my mood
And makes me feel valued.
It only happens once or twice
Every couple of weeks.
But it gets me out of the house
And away from their piques
Of anger over political critiques.
I love my Grands
And they love me,
But when politics arise
I would rather flee
And agree to disagree.
I had trouble deciding on an appropriate photo for this N-N-1. I took at least half a dozen different pictures that dealt with different aspects of how I was coping with our lockdown. Then I thought that I could make a collage of the pictures and use that, but it didn’t feel right. Each of the photos were the same things I would normally do, only to different degrees, such as more time reading but no time in restaurants. Well, there was the picture of my mask, but it wasn’t a compelling picture. The only truly new thing that I’ve done is to start posting a link to a song on Twitter each day. The song matched my feelings about our situation each day. But then I realized that it was a pretty sad look at the world each day, so I started mixing things up. I’ve also posted songs performed by people who have died in these times. So, my picture is my laptop opened to my Twitter page.
Isolation. Social distancing. Masks. Gloves. The world has been turned on its axis. There’s so much talent coming out. People are making sweets at home. Some are picking up new hobbies. Stories of this time spent with you and only you will ring out forever.
Nature is healing from what we have done to her. Wild animals are coming out of hiding. It’s their planet too. We can’t deny that.
As I walk back home, my footsteps echo. Birds on the pavement pay no attention. The silence is soothing.
When the noise comes back, will I embrace it or forsake it?
6am – Already? Am I colleague or mummy this morning?
7am – Log on. Engage brain to squeeze out maximum productivity in the next 5hrs.
9am – Rest of team logs on, emails fly about, calls launched with vigour.
12pm – Leisurely lunch during her nap? Maybe I should nap too… No! Exercise and a quick lunch. Done.
1.30pm – Woken by 2yr old ready to seize the rest of the day. Parenting mode – enabled.
3.30pm – Pick play-doh out of the carpet and stop her eating strange leaves outside.
8pm – Toddler asleep after nightly battle. Movie? Quiz? Haven’t seen you all day, probably should.
11pm – FINALLY bedtime.
Being “outside” has meant staring at the sinking colors of the setting sun, sneaking a quiet moment in the balcony. Questions of how much the world has really changed tsunami up before receding… I’m equal parts hurting from the anxiety and recognizing still, the joy and wonder of all this time together with the person i love the most on this planet. Isn’t this how life is supposed to be? But how? How is any of this sustainable? And then the moment passes, just like the pink, orange skies melting into deep blue-black all too soon. This quarantine has taught me that nothing is truly ever in my control.
Over the weekend, we got up early to avoid the crowds, and went on a walk. About ten minutes into our new careers as walking enthusiasts, something fluffy lodged in my throat. Ironically, it was during a conversation about Trump and Masks. My brain told my body to cough. *I* told my body that it is going to do no such thing. “Cough and you’re grounded for TWO weeks!”. In the ensuing fight between our current cough-less public etiquette, and my body’s natural defence mechanisms, I nearly choked myself. And yet, I survived. Then, I treated myself to this view!
I’m not going to lie. This is how I spend the bulk of my time when I’m at home these days. Sitting on the recliner, my husband beside me, dog in my lap, watching Netflix. Sometimes I switch it up and watch Amazon Prime or Hulu or Youtube.
Killing time is killing me. I’m getting fatter by the minute. When I get up, my joints are so stiff I can barely walk. Depression washes over me in waves. I try to take walks, call friends, garden… but I’m more sedentary with each passing day. Quarantine sucks.
But at the same time, I’m grateful to still have a job to go to for 40 hours a week, and a paycheck and a roof over my head. No one I love has died to date.This is both a relief and a surprise.
I’m hoping this pandemic will cause us to change in positive ways. We’re learning to be gentler on the earth, and we can no longer take our relationships for granted.
These are good things, right? This makes it all worth it, right? Right?
On February 29th the Governor of Washington state declared a state of emergency due to Covid-19. In the following weeks, a “Stay Home – Stay Safe” order closed all non-essential businesses and we began our shelter in place. Gray, rainy days with temps in the 40’s and 50’s encouraged remaining indoors. By May 5th when the sunsets were nearing 9 pm, State Parks were reopened for day use. And after ten weeks of staying home, we received a preview of summer with three consecutive days of temps in the mid-80’s. This brought everyone outdoors. Mother’s Day 2020 saw busy roads as family’s brought Mom to the forests, trails and parks. This photo was taken as I drove into the town of Black Diamond on my way to the Green River Gorge.
Is there any more space in your heart- she asked?
I looked away, pretended I didn’t understand the question.
Well is there? She persisted- brown eyes staring at me unwavering.
I said there is plenty of space in my backyard.
You can hang there with Wendy, Jerry & Suzy.
All 6 feet under- converted to fertiliser for my jackfruit tree.
Yes, later. But now can I hang with you?
I looked at my father- NO- it was said with finality. I looked at my mother -no she said with future sadness.
I’m tiny! How much space do you think I’ll occupy?
Too much space.
Photo taken on a solitary walk through the woods on Mother’s Day
Change is hard. And spring is a season of change. It seems harder this year and it is taking longer. The flowers are having trouble rising above the blanket of leaves, remnants/memories from seasons past. A light dusting of snow in early May brought refreshment, a longing to return to a hidden comfortable world that no longer exists. Nature teaches that change is inevitable. It will happen and we will grow and blossom beyond what we ever imagined, in ways never known before.
Peace and Joy and Love and Trust
My Lockdown Sanctuary
Before quarantine, I thought my little balcony was only just big enough to stand on. On around day 20, while on the phone to my mum and searching for some sun in my flat, I discovered I could wedge my chair (part in, part out) and sit in what is now my favourite sun spot in Valencia.
As spring turns to summer, this squashed little space has become my sanctuary, during strict confinement. Here I have felt free, at peace and so thankful for all the little things. Which really do mean so much.
Lauren Molzahn, Laurencian Tales (site still under construction)