Back in July, I wrote a blog post about my first 100 days in the pandemic. My last sentence on that blog was And so it continues. And so it has. I don’t think that I expected the pandemic to be all over by now, but I think I felt that my own need to record it so diligently might be over. I assumed that we would have made enough progress back to normal (whatever that is) that I could close this chapter of my journaling and blog posting, and yet, here I am. The news now is signaling a serious upsurge in cases both in the US and Europe. The politicization of CoVid and its potential vaccine only makes this worse. And so I decided it is worth looking back over the second hundred days to see if anything has changed at all.
Day 104 July 8: It was a very busy day at work, but I managed to fit in a socially-distanced chat with W at her house. We commiserated over the states of our mothers, but mainly we just talked and talked. It was much needed, and it almost felt normal. I have so much to be grateful for, and I am grateful for all of it. But that doesn’t stop me from worrying and complaining.
Day 108 July 12: We had a great beach day with our friends, just as we have done for years. Sometimes I have to remind myself that the world is in turmoil. This island is such an escape. I’m so lucky to have it as my home now.
Day 114 July 18: The ‘kids’ left today. I am so lucky to have had this time with them here all together. I’m trying not to think about how long it will be before it happens again. I know these partings are always difficult, but the uncertainty and fear around the pandemic does make it much worse. We all try to act ‘normal’, but the truth is so much harsher.
Day 119 July 23: I’ve had a few talks now with other writers and artists. One the web, I keep seeing all the creative work that so many are doing. But the people I talk to feel like me. There just isn’t enough head space to do anything other than what is necessary at the moment, and that is rarely art. Maybe after 119 days it’s just an excuse, and it is true that I have done a great deal of creative thinking and work with Writing Through. But there’s been no poetry, no fiction, no music created. All that has to continue to wait.
Day 121 July 25: Last night (our friends) came by and we ate pizza around the fire pit. Everything felt normal – a normal summer evening with friends. It really feels like now, 121 days in, we are finally in the stage of adaptation. Nothing is as it was. We talk about the after hoping that it will be more like the before than the now. But for today, we make no real plans, we live each day as it comes, and we adapt. Summer makes it easier, to be sure. Once we’re into our second winter, that will be another thing.
Day 126 July 30: I just heard that 3/4’s of the people who have had CoVid are developing heart problems. This is all unbelievable. But I know I need to remain grateful. Most of what I write here is dark and negative, and although I try to be aware of gratitude, I don’t often write it down. I’ll do that now: More family members have tested negative. I’m grateful that none of us have it. Mom continues to do well. I’m grateful I still have her. I’m grateful for (my husband) Don.
Day 142 August 15: Strangely, the title of a poem popped into my head today during breakfast. That’s been happening more lately. But instead of ignoring it, which is what I have been doing, I wrote it down. Then I wrote the entire poem. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, if anything. As per usual, I think it’s great…now. In time it will worsen, I’m sure. But it is interesting that I wrote again without forcing it or anything. I had let it go, so it came back, like so many things you love.
Day 157 August 30: More weird dreams. Though I feel much less anxious, they keep coming. I also keep having that feeling that I’m about to go somewhere or do something or having to prepare for something. But none of that is true. The days stretch out ahead without much change, except for the weather. It’s not that life is now boring – there’s always plenty to do. It’s just…I don’t know…bland. But that’s the way it will be for a very long time. No end in sight.
Day 169 September 11: These days have now been so busy, with work, with seeing friends (socially distanced and outside), with learning to play the drums, exercising. There is a busy routine that even feels normal and lets me forget about the pandemic — unless I have a mask on. Fall is in the air and the weather is getting colder. We have all resigned ourselves to another year of what we are doing now, living our lives around the pandemic, continuing to do our best to stay healthy. And not thinking more than one week ahead. Note that it is 9/11. That date has almost become a national day or mourning. But this year, it was just one of many.
Day 176 September 19: It is Rosh Hashanah. The Rabbi in her sermon spoke about finding some delights every day, and that those small discoveries don’t belittle our sadnesses, but rather helps to give us the strength to conquer them. I have vowed to myself to turn away from all the pessimism I have not only felt, but nurtured, and rediscover that sense of delight that I have lost. But God doesn’t make it easy. Right after services we heard two bad pieces of news within minutes of each other. Our daughter-in-law and her mother had been in a car crash (NOTE: we now know they are fine and I’ll abridge this part of the journal entry), and Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. How do you find delight and turn away from pessimism after hearing that? But I can, and I will. RBG’s death leaves open new, more dangerous actions by Trump. A crucial voice on the Supreme Court is now silent. Her death at the stroke of Rosh Hashanah shows how blessed she was. Jewish tradition says that those who die on Rosh Hashanah are the ones God kept with us until the very last minute because of their righteousness. RBG was righteous, she was a fighter, and despite huge obstacles, she never gave up. I hope to hold her as a model and a goal. I prayed today not only for the health and safety of those I love, and for the world in this dangerous moment in time, but also for myself, that I find the physical, emotional and spiritual strength to persevere in the face of all our troubles, the ones we know about, and the ones yet to come. And then I wrote a poem.
Day 193 October 6: I discovered an organization on the island of writers and artists supporting each other and screwed up my courage to contact them. It feels as if my writer’s hat is coming out of the closet a bit. I also feel as if I’ve turned a corner in my ability to accept the fact that it could be another year before the pandemic is truly under control, and I can travel to SE Asia again or anywhere else outside of this country. Although I miss people I’m not seeing, it also makes me feel somewhat more settled – at least for now.
Day 200 October 12: It is definitely getting cold out. The prospect of winter and its unrelenting cold is pretty daunting. Our second CoVid winter is just around the corner. Are we even halfway through the pandemic yet? Who knows? But despite the cold, the sun is just as unrelenting. It’s there in the sky whether I see it or not. I’ll focus on that.