Isolation Chronicles: Episode 1

I woke up unrested and restless. I dreamed my young puppy was dying the way the others did the last few years. Cloudy eyed. Tongue hanging out.

I got my coffee and settled on the porch, wrapped in a wool blanket. The sun is out but the air is still cool. Fifteen crows fly over squawking. I try not to think about what they call a flock like that…What it represents in literature… That I can hear my daughter cough (It is allergies. I know. But still).


I read my bible and write in my journal like starting any other day. I invigilate a spelling test from my bed. Dust the stereo. Empty the dishwasher. I clean the kitchen and listen to the end of this story on audible. I analyze it differently than the commentators online. I will talk to my therapist about my understanding when I get back to it. I killed the sourdough starter that I forgot to feed. The process was too precise for a person like me anyway. Plus I can’t find bread flour. The children are both on zoom on either side of me as I write. I try to listen in, the other students give me hints on what we are behind on. I have bragged about my kids at every meeting I have had because I am aware of how the sounds carry…how they will absorb what I say about them.  That is the only parenting advice I have so far. Well, that and to always greet your people with delight. Even if they just come in from the other room, I try to glow up for them. I transplant another plant. Check on the seed babies…they are doing great thanks for asking. I have fifteen tiny huckleberry plants I am too hopeful about and check on six times a day. I have a bubble bath and read Madeline again. Reading her makes me want to write. And so here I am.  I researched violins and bought a used one online. I met the guy in a parking lot. He drooped it 6 ft away. I transferred funds, and a dream came true. We will eat another meal at home. Go for a walk. Check the dog for ticks. Watch too much TV. I will attempt to limit my intake of news stories (except…for this. I will read this again. You should too).

I will keep a gratitude list. It will look a lot like what I described above. There is something about a sense of impending doom that prompts me in the direction of noticing the everyday extraordinary. To count the preciousness of life and in the face of our collective mortality. To fully live while living.

This past calendar year I have felt the wandering. The hiding. It was quite a shock to realize I have been social distancing for some time already. The kids and husband just joined me in it. But I have have been healing and feeling like I had so little to offer. I had little energy, little passion, manna just enough to get us through as a family and not much extra to pass along. Every month seemed like I felt another major loss, a reduction, a depletion or disappointment. As we entered 2020, I thought perhaps a renaissance, but of course (as the whole globe knows) that was not to be. I am finding gifts in the wildness though. Precious offerings that are teaching me about how precarious our tethers are, how easily they let go, how only one anchor could ever hold us. And so we cling.


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