It is the spring equinox. The rain is trickling down the window panes, droplets on tops of dried ones, on top of wet ones, mingling and distorting the empty street. In the last two days, seeing a person pass by has been a cause for celebration. I am in the studio with red lights, a scented candle labeled fern and grass, and a meditation track from Ayla is playing in the background. I dream of two weeks ago when this entire place was full, even spilling out onto the street, a warm night and cirrocumulus clouds, so dramatic with the full moon. There was music and art, and poetry. People were buzzed from Melissa’s drinking chocolate. I remember watching every face, knowing almost every single one and thinking how absolutely wonderful these multi-faceted beings were around me. And the new ones, how exciting they were to meet! A dear friend beamed even brighter than the moon that night, from a love rekindled, sixty years in the making. Sixty.
One week ago, a reunion with my dearest friend in New Orleans was canceled because there were cases of COVID-19 in the city. I made plans with Satoko in Madison. We spent a glorious seven hours drinking oolong tea at Macha, cocktails at the Robin Room, buying rocks with superpowers at Burnie’s, red wine and pizza at Sal’s. I hope those places can re-open again. A day later, everyone was told to self-quarantine. Two days after that, I went on a socially distant walk with Heather. I was happy to see my student Ginny drive by with her brother and parents, the twins, Kallie and Jayden walking, everyone trying to feel normal but we had to stay far. I heard Cosmo whimpering and Sara came out to talk. Liz was doing yard work. A man walking his French bulldog begged me to let Ollie dog at least to touch noses with the Frenchie. I was scared but I let them for two seconds.
Keith has been an oasis of calm during this time of confusion. I’m not surprised because he’s always been that way. He’s been picking up food and delivering them to friends and trying to figure out multiple ways to help others.
I’ve been communicating with as many people as possible: Lucky, Tom, Roo, Hans, Hana, Mark, Svetha, Jason, JZ, Claire, Michelle, Mihoko, Alyx, Maggie, May, Julie, Megan, Eve, Melissa, Henk, Donna, Jony, Phil, Caitlin, Monica, Monika, Iva, Marissa, Ellie, Dunja, Karma, Ben, Catherine, Sara, Molly, Richard, my students and their parents, some through email or texts and good old fashioned talking. Hearing people’s voices really touched my heart. Why don’t we call each other more often? Who else can I talk to? I need people like air.
Restaurants and bars are now closed. Some restaurants and cafés are in operation but just for pick-up. Theaters are closed, even the Metropolitan Opera, newspapers are shutting down, symphonies letting go of their members, the small businesses, schools, flights canceled and borders are closing. Everything feels surreal.
I worry for everyone: the homeless, the ones who cannot go home, prison population, the elderly, the soon-to-be mothers. And the brave people in the medical field, for my own brother who is a respiratory therapist, being exposed because they have to help us.
I hope everyone is staying in the comfort of their own homes so we can gather again one day. This is a time for creativity and for assessing what is truly essential. As we do so, dolphins and other marine life have been spotted in the canals of Venice, air pollution is going down, nature, which includes us, is finding a way to heal.
I bought seeds for the garden.
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