last few afternoons have been sunny, if chilly, and in the late afternoon, just
before dusk, the living area of my cottage—office and “company” couch and chairs—have
been flooded with warm, bright sunshine. The room has windows on the south,
west, and north, which make it bright but not always warm. But this week it
cheered me just to walk into the room, filled me with gratitude for all the
comforts I enjoy—a comfortable shelter, plenty of food, and, usually, plenty of
companionship. I like to think of myself as a grateful person.
re-reading some of my recent blogs startled me into the recognition that I have
bee anything but grateful. Story Circle Network is having a blog competition, looking
for the best blog post on the subject of growth. When I got that notice today,
I thought, “Why not?” As I ate my lunch, I scrolled through some recent past
entries in “Judy’s Stew.” I did not find growth, no gratitude either; I found a
lot of anger and a lot about isolation. I think my blog—and me—is in a rut.
many of you know I have been sort of quarantining since the New Year for
reasons that have to do both with exposure and caution. What I found today was that lots of my Lots of
my posts were about isolation and anger. Isolation because my family is out and
about, exposed at high-risk events, and my friends are cautious. For a while,
patio entertaining was fine, but it turned cold and is supposed to do that again
this week. We developed a transport system between the main house and my
cottage. Mostly it consists of a grocery sack left on the step by my kitchen
door, sort of in the same manner you raise a flag for service at a Brazilian
steakhouse or at Pancho’s. Jordan makes many trips from back door to back door,
especially since one or the other of us cooks dinner for everybody.
Transporting dinner without spilling or letting it get cold has proved tricky.
I posted about Jordan’s brief, two-minute masked visits to do this or that I
needed, about wishing Sophie could talk about books and menus, about Sophie
knowing something is different and acting out like a two-year-old. About
gloomy, gray days when I could seem to get warm. About the day I just decided
to write the world off and keep going back to bed—which left me wakeful during
the night. Not a good solution.
anger. I was angry at the Covid virus in all its mutations, angry at the rodeo
(I tried not to be angry at my family because they, after all, have lives to
lead and are not as much at risk as I am because of age and health), angry at a
world where half the people doubt science and refuse to take precautions to
protect others—those people who fuss about their rights and won’t get vaccinated
or who swear masks don’t work and won’t wear one. Angry at Governor Abbott and
his cavalier attitude about the pandemic while pursuing his own dreams of glory,
at “the former guy” who let it get out of control (I’m always angry at him
anyway). Angry at the world because I eat alone most nights instead of with my
family gathered around my coffee table, angry because we didn’t have our annual
Twelfth Night celebration, because … because … because
were of course highlights—a visit from a dear friend back in Texas briefly after
a move to Taos, patio visits from the neighbor ladies, lunch on the patio with my
Canadian daughter; some good meals that I enjoyed cooking, despite transport difficulties.
I’m grateful for some good writing sessions and a lot more reading than I
usually have time for. But what re-reading these blog posts taught me, beyond that
I need to change my attitude, is the Covid is re-shaping our lives and making
us into people we sometimes don’t recognize. You can’t see the shift day-to-day,
but pandemic has made us angry and cautious, suspicious of our neighbors. Who
knows4 who might be asymptomatic and a carrier, even a super-spreader? And so
we do, as I have done, hide in our houses, become lonely and angry. I’m wondering
what the effects will be five years from now.
wonderful visit tonight with old friends Phil and Subie brightened my spirits
immensely. We met in the cottage, unmasked but with the patio door wide open.
Conversation was lively, wine generous, and I felt more alive than I have for
days. But I still say it’s true that pandemic has changed us as a society. I’d
love to hear your opinions.