Adventures Outside the House During Our Time of Isolation

Yesterday I ventured forth farther a-field than I have for three weeks. I had an health appointment and my son agreed to take me so I wouldn’t have to take the bus (I don’t drive). I thought I would be excited to leave the house, but in truth I was mostly nervous. I looked up how to make a mask from a bandana and hair bands:

You can find instructions on how to make your own COVID-19 fashion statement here. I had a hard time getting the elastic bands to stay looped over my ears, so when I got home, I strung three together, before slipping the bandana through the end two, to allow the elastic to go around my head. I haven’t tried wearing it outside as I walk around yet, but I have high hopes it will stay in place a little better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way in, there were some cars, but many stretches of the road were almost empty.

We passed my favourite pond. There were two grey herons on it, a bird I hadn’t seen there before. I hope they’re nesting. Someone pointed out to me that the birds have been loving the quieter days and the cleaner air, and since then I have noticed that there are indeed more birds around than we’ve had for a while.

 

      After my appointment, we had a couple errands to run, one on the pedestrian mall. It was stunning to see how empty it was. The homeless folk had gathered primarily in one area, but most were keeping several yards apart from each other and talking about the pandemic.

I was surprised by how many restaurants were not limiting themselves to take out or curbside pick-up. Quite a number were open for business as more-or-less usual. THIS IS WHY WE NEED A NATIONAL SHUT-DOWN, PEOPLE. We can’t count on folks to stay away from each other if it isn’t mandated as a necessity.

There were few shoppers around; many of them were wearing scarves or masks. We looked like a small convention of highway robbers.

Because I’ve been cooped up at home, my son and I took the scenic route home. We saw trees just coming out of dormancy, still all bones, but not for long.*

There were some mountains, too.

Honestly, I feel as if the world has undergone such a cataclysm that I wasn’t sure the Rockies would still be there. It’s like living in one of those SciFi movies in which most of the population has been swept away by a plague and everyone is afraid of everyone else, but it’s not a movie.

Be careful out there, folks.

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* Winter trees remind me of the first and last verses of Theodore Roethke’s poem, “I Knew A Woman”:

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;   
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:   
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek).
………………………………
Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:   
I’m martyr to a motion not my own;
What’s freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.   
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:   
(I measure time by how a body sways).
(https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43331/i-knew-a-woman)

 

The Peach Chronicles, Part II

Well, I am sure everyone had a sleepless night, worrying about the peach tree. I am pleased to offer a bit of good news: I think the lights may have worked! Take a look:

 

Not only do most of the blossoms that were there before seem to be there still, but there are even some new ones:

The foreseeable future offers some dips down to freezing temps, but no hard freezes. But then there’s the rest of April, squirrels (who literally will take one bite of a peach and then throw it as far as they can), bugs, birds…
Kinehora, all!

#30Inks30Days 4 April, 2020

 

This ink is Benitsuchi from Taccia’s Hokusai set. I’m not sure how much I’m choosing inks that suit the unfolding story (I don’t have any of it planned out) and how much I’m suiting the story to the ink. This ink wanted to draw people, so people showed up in the story. What will tomorrow’s ink bring? I don’t know either.

#30Inks30Days 3 April, 2020

Day Three of using 30 Inks in 30 Days to distract me from the tragic, global disaster of COVID-19 and the national political disaster of our Federal Government.

Darkness brought to you by Diamine Shimmertastic Colbalt Jazz. I thought this ink caught the way a sudden darkness would hold some of the shine and gleam of the briefly obscured day light.

#30Inks30Days: 1 April, 2020

 

1 April, 2020

And just in time, for those of us who need something else to do while practicing social distancing, comes another #30Inks30Days! (Thanks to Tom Oddo of Ink Journal for coming up with this challenge.) Here’s my first day’s inking:

Today’s Ink is Robert Oster Australian Opal Grey. It’s very much the colours of the clouds that will bring the rain and snow that will endanger my peach blossoms (see my previous post).

While We Wait

I’m not the Pollyanna type: my approach to life is more Pessimists are never disappointed. BUT — desperate times, desperate measures. So while we wait for this fearful virus to relent, I have been trying to remind myself that there are still some soul-lifting aspects to life. So I have been out with my camera*, taking photos of sunsets:

 

 

 

 

   

I have been tracking the moon:

             

and watching for the flowers to add colour to the world:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND — I have been chronicling the emergence of blossoms on our peach tree:

   

 

 

 

Our temperatures are about to drop into the twenties with rain and snow, so I am worried that after Friday, there will be no more blossoms, and no peaches later (though last time we had peaches, the wasps ate more than we did).

Stay tuned. I’ll update the state of the peach tree later. Stay well.

 

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*All the photos, like all the contents of this blog, are copyrighted to me.

COVID Nineteen and Quarantine

Here at my house, we’re in self-quarantine mode. A week ago Saturday, my husband drove up into the mountains to fetch home our son for Spring Break. The next day, Sunday, late in the afternoon, two days AFTER colleges let out for vacation, the Colorado Health Department put out an alert stating that all those in several mountain towns, including our son’s, should NOT LEAVE and, if they had, they should isolate themselves for fourteen days. 

Monday I called the Health Department (and was on hold so long that the battery on one of our handsets gave out) and was told, yes, we all had to stay at home for the fortnight. (Just for the record, the woman with whom I spoke was kind and sensible. She answered all my questions and never rushed me to get off the phone.) So the warning came too late for us, and we’re mostly here at home. My husband and son, as recommended, are getting out for solitary walks and bike rides, both of them careful to stay six feet away from anyone else. My M.E. keeps me closer to home, but we are fortunate enough to have our own backyard and a park across the street.

So far, none of us is showing any signs of the virus, but I suspect it’s only a matter of time before at least one of us comes down with it. I confess the prospect of having a tube put down my throat to breathe for me scares me tremendously. Worse is the idea of someone for whom I care being taken away someplace where I can’t ladle chicken soup down her or his throat.

We’d been having groceries delivered, but now the demand is so high for both delivery and curbside pick up that we haven’t been able to schedule a time to obtain food. We’ll be able to hold out until Saturday when, presumably, we’ll be able to shop for ourselves again.

A lot has been written about the perils of isolation, and I feel some of that. Jenny Lawson wrote

I am a natural introvert so I’ve been training for this for my whole life, but don’t let anyone tell you that this is easy for hermits. Personally, I’m feeling very grateful that Victor and I already work from home and Hailey has been in correspondence high school so this shouldn’t really feel very different for us but honestly it really is and it’s very easy for me to fall back into my agoraphobic tendencies and spiral into a depression or let my anxiety spin me out so remember to take care of yourself and others mentally during this time. 

I’m another introvert, but just knowing that I can’t go places I need or want to go (I’m missing physical therapy and doctors’ appointments, and do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been to the book store? It’s been over three weeks now, people. I expect to get the literary DTs any moment and start talking to large, pink Elizabeth Bennets, Violas, Bagginses, and Peter Grants) makes me feel trapped. I’m finding that sheltering in place isn’t helping my anxiety and depression either.

But for now, what’s harder is the lack of isolation. I’m used to spending most of my time by myself, but now there are these two big guys in my space ALL THE TIME. They act like they live here. The nerve! The gall!

To make matters worse, our house has paper-thin walls and air ducts that carry sound beautifully. So while it’s possible to close a door and not be seen, there is no aural privacy, no way to have a bit of a cry, throw a minor tantrum, conduct a confidential conversation, or indulge in some maniacal laughter without being overheard.

While I could use a few hours of isolation, that’s probably about all I could take. Ultimately, I’m happier with my family here at home, where I am irrationally believing that I’ll be able to ward off this virus with my well-honed Evil Eye. Please don’t disillusion me.