A Thing with Wings: how I stopped worrying

Hope is a thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
Emily Dickenson

Imagine being told that you have to spend a year inside and not see your beloved friends and family.

Oh that happened to you too!

It has now been a year and two weeks for some of us. Maybe you as well. I have an underlying condition called old age. I didn’t enjoy those news stories out of Italy last year, when they had to triage hospital patients with Covid or pictures of the ice arenas and churches full of bodies. I didn’t enjoy the stories from New York City of bodies in freezer trucks, or even just in trucks. I got hot under the collar when politicians suggested I was old, so I didn’t count when measured against the economic loss. Having said that, I hand-wrote an addition to my will, opting out of ventilator treatment, with the hope mine would go to someone younger.

Spring did not cheer me up. I was having my groceries delivered and I had finished watching Tiger Joe. Even Schitz Creek couldn’t pull me out of my slump. I had been writing a third book, a second mystery. I couldn’t figure out who the murderer was and I didn’t care. On Twitter, I followed other writers who wanted to encourage me by challenging me or telling me what they were accomplishing. I thought they hadn’t caught the bus, that they didn’t know we were dying in great numbers and nothing else mattered. Summer! Well who cares? It was like the summer of 1914 or 1939. Australia and California were burning as well. Nobody cared. The leader of the western world certainly didn’t.

I wrote blog posts titled by day, as in Day 36, etc. I could think for the hour and half that took me. Then I was gone.

Finally, my province allowed me to see one other singleton household. I saw my sister up the road, and once we knew we could trust each other, my niece, her daughter. I could not go to the U.S. to see my daughter or even to Barrie, an hour and 15 minutes north to see my sister’s large and boisterous family as I usually did at holidays. The three of us soldiered on at our small feasts, with or without video feed.

Then – drum roll please – everything changed. I had written a number of posts about Global Warming and the end of civilization as we know it and suddenly, an entirely new and paradoxically warm and even funny story started writing itself in my head.

The upshot is that I have to get it down before I forget it, so I don’t have as much time to write blog posts. I apologize for that and also for feeling interested in life again, especially if you are still not loving it and not writing or whatever. Rumi says, “There is one thing in this world you must never forget to do,” ( Rumi: The Book of Love, trans. Coleman Barks p.181) What I am learning is this is not a puzzle for serious study and introspection. It is a matter of learning how to play.

(Also I’m so old, I was able to get the Pfizer shot two weeks ago. I apologize for that as well.)

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