April 9, 2020 Framework
When I do a puzzle, my favorite part is constructing the frame. The frame pieces all have one flat edge so you know which ones they are. It is simple to figure out what fits together, and when they are connected they hold everything else in place. Frames make sense.
Ever since this pandemic shit hit the fan our world feels anything but sensible. I have felt out of balance, fearful, confused, and just not myself. Does anyone else feel that way? Anyway, I decided that what I need is some kind of framework for my days, one that does not include a lot of news. Last Tuesday I was still in Farrenberg* enjoying peace and quiet until the AZ governor told everyone to stay at home (finally). Overnight the number of RVs in the area quadrupled, because hey, no work and no school, so might as well go play outside. I get that but I had been perfectly happy just communing with the locals, aka known as cattle and bugs.
Thanks to two generous friends, I am now in a real house for a couple of weeks in Green Valley, AZ. Lucky for me, their winter tenant decided to go home early. I am very grateful! It is a beautiful home with a wonderful patio and a sweet mountain view. Being in a big house is very different than being in little Wanda, so I decided to create a new framework for my days. It includes getting outside every day, for a pre-dawn solitary walk or to pluck a few weeds in the yard, or just sit with a glass of iced tea (or wine) to enjoy the sight and sound of the birds, including the two-legged dodos on the golf course who are not social distancing. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are nesting partners.
My schedule includes mundane things like making the bed every day, even though no one sees it but me. I get dressed because duh, there are mirrors, and like Farrenberg this house has a strict no bra ordinance. I cook something yummy and nourishing for myself every day, in a real kitchen. I check on Wanda every morning and keep her battery juiced up by putting out her solar panels for three or fours hours a day. I enjoy cleaning something every day even if it's already clean. This makes me feel more in control. My day includes doing something creative whether it is writing or painting. There's music, whether practicing the ukulele, singing, dancing (space, yes!) or just listening to songs, old and new. I am doing puzzles, and not just the frames. There are Zoom meetings and YouTube videos and re-runs of Schitt's Creek on Netflix.
Most importantly my framework requires connecting with friends and family. These days I spend hours on the phone, and a lot of time texting. Several friends and I are connecting almost daily through group emails, and more distant friends are reaching out. Thanks to my sometimes tackier friends, laughter has come easily and often. The nourishment I get from staying in touch more often has been the silver lining in this dark cloud.
Lucky for me, being an only child was good training for spending long periods of time alone. I enjoy my own company and find myself mildly amusing. Today I am inordinately excited to get some groceries delivered from Sprouts. I plan to peek out the window and wave at the delivery person putting my packages on the bench. Then I guess I need to put on my gloves and wipe those groceries down before bringing them in? I better Google that.
It is hard not to think about losses and suffering so many are experiencing. A friend died from this horrible virus two weeks ago, a kind and sweet man who had such a zest for living. My heart goes out to his wife and my friend who I hope to be able to hug when I see her, and to their sons and their families. Another friend lost her 45 year-old brother-in-law three days ago. I spend time thinking about what lessons we as human beings are learning from this difficult time and feel a lot of good can and will come out of it eventually. I want to meditate but cannot seem to fit that into my busy schedule (or my head) just yet.
I would love to get back to my little mountain home in Colorado before May 1 and will voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days if/when the stay-at-home order is extended. According to the Chaffee County health department, I am not required to do that because it's my permanent home, but they ask that I do it and I told them I yes, gladly. Out-of-state owners returning to Chateau Chaparral for the summer have to self-quarantine and I don't see why I should be exempt just based on my license plates; I have been gone for over five months. Better to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
I hope all of you and those you love stay healthy, safe and sane during this challenging time. Sending lots of love and virtual (totally legal) hugs.
*Farrenberg was most recently located in Coconino National Forest about 12 miles SE of Sedona