A victory! To leave your loneliness
My daughter has started to understand that something isn't quite right in our world. It's been 55 days, as I'm writing this, since we went into lockdown, and she asks, "did I go to school tomorrow?" "Did I see my friends yesterday?" She knows there was a time that was different, when sometimes we got up a little earlier with a little bit more of a mission, when we saw other people and went other places. She's also learning to tell stories, and make up songs, and that drawing is representing something real on paper. Her imagination is blooming in lockdown, and it's simultaneously awe-inspiring and heartbreaking.
For a brief moment this week, we were terrified we'd all gotten The Virus. We had headaches, and sore throats, and achy limbs, and temperatures reading high-normal, and we were full of panic. Then the tulip tree on the front lawn started pushing out leaves and we realized no, we're just also allergic to the world, same as every spring. Every spring, when we all have to take a week or so worth of Claritin and hope we don't get too drowsy, too itchy, too sniffly to get our work done. Never have I been so relieved to recognize the presence of dogwood blooms in the air.
I fill online carts with books of poetry, books of fairy tales, books of thought, looking for meaning. Sometimes I find it. Mostly I don't. I've been reading voraciously, like I did as a teenager, like I did when I had more than enough room in my head, if not always in my heart, for the things I was expected to carry. Beans, too, is looking for meaning: why is Daddy upstairs all alone? Why do you have to clean the kitchen? Why do we need to rest every day? Why?
I'm finding my meaning in poetry, in small bubbles at the surface of yeast starters, in the flesh of perfect avocados. The Crisis is both a complicater and a simplifier. More often than not I feel like a fly in a spiderweb, struggling myself deeper and deeper into the tangles, but every now and again I find myself able to slow down, hold still, and get free.
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