Isolation Diary: May 3, 2020

Well, that was a month, wasn’t it?

I didn’t mean to let so long go from one post to the next — stop me, if you’ve heard this before — but, well, the world.

Life in the time of COVID-19 is all sorts of things, but stressful is foremost among them.

It’s a weird kind of stress, too: ebbing and flowing as the days go by, sometimes — as in a grocery store run — surging up to a pulse-pounding near-madness, while at other times — at home, on the couch, content with Best Cat and The Empress of Whisky — lying quietly as just a mild tingling at the back of the mind that something is … not … quite … right.

And there goes a month.

Like Buffalo Bill shooting — “onetwothreefourfive, pigeonsjustlikethat.”

And, also, like the slow, steady cadence of the 21-gun salute.

Like the turn of Earth, gradually, day into night, while simultaneously orbiting the sun at 67,000 miles per hour.

These are the days of COVID-19.

Days of anger and rage, at incompetent leaders who first dawdled while we died, then rushed to put us back to work to save their portfolios while we keep dying.

And those same days, embracing all the love we have in life, finding new ways to live, to laugh, to stay close to family and friends, video conferencing becoming part of everyone’s digital toolkits, yes, even your parents’.

A month ago we learned to slow down, to hear the previously unknown midday birds, to dig deep in our libraries to find the forgotten books, to dig deep in our pantries to make the purple cookies, to dig deep in our hearts to make the best connections.

A month ago I started writing this, then let it lie fallow, the words needing time to soak nitrogen from the loam.

A month ago I started crying again, in the quiet corners of my mind, tears of sadness, pain, rage, regret, all the tears, all the days.

A month ago, the world.