I have been awfully silent on COVID-19. In normal times I would have written something funny, or something heartfelt and shared it with my friends. I would have written reams by now, because that is how I cope.
But this feels different.
Other than the news stories I am working on with my unbelievably good team at the Keys Weekly, I don’t think I have anything drastically new or insightful to say about the pandemic at a personal level, except this:
Be safe at home. Be smart. Be lucky. Recognize that these times are not normal, so be extraordinary. Wash your hands. Be loving. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be lucky.
My physical world seems more dramatic, probably because I haven’t left the ‘hood for days now. When I step away from the screen, though, I HEAR the virus I cannot see. The constant thrum of Overseas Highway is silent. The normal chirps and whistles and cheers from Dolphin Research Center are gone. The birds are loud and the leaves that are falling off every single tree scrape and rustle under my bare feet. I can hear one daughter tapping at her keyboard, the other turning pages of a book. I can hear my husband scraping bits of flaking paint off the side of the house. I hear my knees creak as I squat to sit on the lowest step. I can hear the crank of slightly rusty bicycles riding by on the street or the slap of water on a hull as a boat races along the shore. It sounds … precious.
And although I am drinking far more than usual, I am living the recovered alcoholic’s life — one day at a time. I think I may need to meter my anxiety and conserve my energy because I sense we have a long, scary road ahead.
They call this a “novel” virus, meaning new. Scientists are desperate to unravel the mysteries as fast as they can. Time will tell if we did all the right things, or if we did all the wrong things or some unsatisfying mixture of the two.
We can arm ourselves with facts.
We can pay attention to our intuition.
We can pray.
And we can bravely thrash through our own personal nightmares every time we lay our head on the pillow.
But more than anything else, I think we have to be lucky. And that feels both stunningly scary and incredibly optimistic.