A week ago, I felt young. Well, not young exactly. The earth’s curve exposed my last sunset, but it was a good long way off. Today, that approaching sunset is brilliantly lit. A huge red sphere sinking into the sea, my feet already wet and salty at its edge. A week ago, I adhered to the recommendations to shelter in place so as not to endanger our vulnerable population — the old, the infirm, those whose immune systems are compromised.
Today, hunkered down in my one room house with Nickie, my giant, rowdy, loving dog, my son doing my shopping and running essential errands, I face a hard truth. I may not get that last wisdom-filled twenty years on earth I counted on. A cold knot grows in my belly. The chances are good that I will survive this pandemic, but the virus has shown me my vulnerability and that will have longer-reaching repercussions than not going to lunch with friends or canceling that much anticipated vacation, or missing a performance at HSU Theater Arts.
Sheltering in place is not a big hardship for someone like me who can sit quietly most of a rainy afternoon and enjoy the antics of a common sparrow, someone who disappears between the covers of a book or into words flying onto a blank computer screen, someone whose favorite secret pleasure is an afternoon nap. For me, staying home is a logistics problem, not a psychological hardship. What is difficult is the realization that I am, in fact, part of the vulnerable population must susceptible to this virus, that I am not the strong, invincible old crone I believed myself to be a week ago.
Luckily I have lots of time right now to meditate on my new self-image, accept my limitations, if such a thing is possible.
What about you? How are you using this gift of time?