Monday, April 6. Day 22
In addition to keeping my honey and I isolated on the farm, and conversing with the 4 adult children and their partners in isolation, and tracking my grandson who lives in Utah, I’m also trying to ensure that my 83/82-y-o parents are complying with social distancing protocol alone in their home just south of Atlanta.
They’re doing a great job of tolerating the circumstances. Their church services are all cancelled, I have groceries delivered once a week, we text and chat every day. They have vast cable tv resources, but no internet, so to me that means they miss a lot (streaming their online church services), but they’ve never had it, so they don’t complain about it.
Last week I had a delivery made to them of some plants from their local nursery. It was a gorgeous pile of blossoms:
She was so surprised and delighted. They have a big front porch and they sit out there for hours birdwatching at the numerous feeders. Her hanging baskets are always beautiful, always red and white, and last year I found tiny hummingbird feeders that can be added to each basket so the birds get really close.
She immediately set to planting, digging and designing, then getting my dad to help her hang them.
She sent picture after picture of getting them arranged – 4 large baskets to hang on 4 hooks on the front porch.
Then this morning, she called me in tears, hardly able to talk. You can imagine me holding my breath, waiting to hear what she was so upset about. Did one of them fall down? Is it one of my brothers? My dad? Is someone showing symptoms?
The squirrels had gotten into her baskets and dug around and flung plants everywhere. In the span of 5 seconds, I went from relieved, to anger at her reaction, to laughter, and back to neutral as we talked it through. By the end of the conversation, we decided I would have some kind of rodent repellent delivered, she can pick up all the plants and sweep up the dirt and reassemble the baskets. She was even able to laugh about it at the end.
The whole experience fractured me. Of course I know the psychology of it – her emotion was entirely displaced, she’s tried so hard to be optimistic and comply with the rules, and those baskets mean a lot to her in a non-weird spring season. But sadness overwhelmed me at the thought of their suffering at this time in their lives – the isolation, the loneliness, the separation from their very active senior adult group at their church.
It will be a story we can tell and laugh about in the future. But right now it is a total gut-punch, and tiny example of what is playing out in millions of households around the world. This is so unnatural, and is taking a toll on our social species, in far more dramatic and significant ways than this short tale reveals.
It was a lovely day on the farm, but my morning phone call stayed with me well after sunset.
Tuesday, April 7. Day 23
Nothing but planting from sunrise to sunset! I think this theme is a little repetitive on this blog, but it is spring on the farm, so.
Wednesday, April 8. Day 24.
Today was a day.
We lost John Prine last night. I went to bed sad, thinking about listening to him in college, the impact his music and lyrics had on me.
I was out of sorts when I woke up, stressy and worried and restless. It was house-cleaning day, although 2 old people don’t mess up a house too much in a week. Before my honey and I got started cleaning, I put on some Prine, and the first chord hadn’t finished before I gave in to my tears. I cried about everything – fear of the virus, worry about the children and my parents, the loss of this beautiful man, the absolute frustration of what the Republicans have done to the country, the despair for the suffering that so many are experiencing in this health crisis.
I swept and mopped and scrubbed as JP’s voice soothed my raw nerves, like it used to do in my youth. In a couple of hours my house was clean, and my emotions were spent. My honey took my hand and led me outside without a word, where we headed out for our daily 3 miles on our little country lane.
We walked and chatted, he gave me space to grieve and rant, and before long around the bend came a very familiar car.
It’s hard to see, but that hatted bandit is my girl Steen. She took a moment to drive out to wave from the window, and at a safe social distance to see our faces. It was the sweetest moment, and one I needed.
I had also posted a little whiney rant on Facebook, and after our walk I saw comment after comment of love and support.
I am an optimistic person, sometimes almost unrealistically. I rarely have dark moments, and when I do, they pass quickly. Today was one of those rare occasions.
But with the love and support of my honey, my family, my friends, and my community, I had my moment, felt it, expressed it, and moved on. I know this won’t be the only day like this. I know there are others who are suffering so much more than we are. I know that everyone is affected by this crisis to varying degrees.
Thursday, April 9. Day 25
Ay, this spring weather. Spent the day bringing in my as-yet-unplanted plants, and covering what I’ve already put in the ground.
Friday, April 10. Day 26
This is the easiest day to write a happy thing of the entire distancing series up to now. Today, at 10am, my oldest son texted me one word: PASSED.
What he was referencing were the results from the February 2020 Washington State Bar Exam. Which he passed.
He’d already been hired in the Public Defender’s office in Chelan County, in Wenatchee, WA, but he needed the pass to be official.
Having taken the Bar Exam myself (California), I know how hard and challenging this test is. I’m so very proud of him, and so excited for his career.
Meanwhile, on the farm…
Expecting a low of 34 degrees tonight, so all those tender plants get a nice cozy blanket.
Saturday, April 11. Day 27
I know I’ve blogged about how we’re eating: low carb, no grains/no sugar, mostly one meal a day, with a later snack. But we’re also trying to be a little playful about it. Here’s the menu board for a few days this week:
It’s a little silliness, but helps us keep our good humor about not going out to eat, which we love to do.
Sunday, April 12. Day 28
End of the fourth week. Still no plan, especially here in Tennessee.
On this rainy Sunday, it is as good a time for a rant as any.
We have a binary system in our presidential election, for all intents and purposes. You vote for one, the other, for a nonviable 3rd party candidate, or not at all. That’s it. Those are the choices.
We are at such a level of destruction and emergency in our country, it is my opinion that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. In other words, if you are not with us, you are against us.
So I don’t care what your motivation is to vote for Trump.
Don’t like abortion? I don’t care.
Hate liberals? I don’t care.
Bernie didn’t win? I don’t care.
You’re not in a swing state so you claim you can make your political point with no damage? I don’t care.
Your own important and special reason? I don’t care.
Who you vote for is your choice and your right. But it is not without consequences. When you vote for Trump, you have chosen to empower the damage and pain he causes. I take that personally – that hurts so many people. And while I respect your right to vote as your conscience leads you, it affects how I feel about you. If we were friends up to that point, your vote alters the friendship. It alters my respect for you. Our values are too far apart to sustain a friendship. Your voting action far exceeds a difference of opinion or political strategy, or whatever it is that you claim you are doing.
So on your social media when you boast about voting for Trump because derpderpderp, don’t expect my respect or friendship.
And as to it being my responsibility to convince you otherwise? You’re a Trumper, by definition and your own statement. I have learned a slow hard lesson that it is not worth the breath and frustration it takes to try to reason with a Trumper. Hard pass. I’ll be out doing what I’ve done for years: registering new voters, encouraging nonvoters, and trying to win what is left of the persuadable middle.
The last day of the 4th week. Let’s end with a photo of my lone little azalea.
It was a week of highs and lows. Squaring my shoulders to move forward.
Thanks for reading.