Holding steady

It’s been eight weeks since the earth flipped around.

I’m still here, trying to hold steady. For me, it’s a time when nothing feels easy. I search for rhythm in my days. I create lists that peter out after two or three items. I try to finish something, anything.

Each night, I decide to make it a bright day tomorrow.

I remember the things that have saved me before. Writing in my journal. Meditating. Exercise. Friends. Breathing.

Yesterday, the sun came out. The neighbors gathered for a Sunday afternoon socially distant check-in in our yard.

I poured a small glass of wine and went out the front door.

There it was: a heart made of rose petals. A bit of whimsy created as a token of affection by a neighbor.

A gift from the earth. Gratitude, affection, hope.

I’m still here, holding steady.

Who’s zoomin’ who?

Life in the time of SARS-CoV-2

Tai chi. Yoga. Boxing. Book club. Work, of course. Even my friends that get together for coffee every Monday and Friday morning. We all meet on Zoom now.

Zoom wasn’t even active in my lexicon eight weeks ago. At first it seemed like amazing technology, because after the first week of quarantine, I was desperate to see a real person.

I really miss seeing real people!

I don’t like how the camera is always on. I don’t need to see my reflection. I’m tired of living in Screen Land.

The news says it might be safe soon to relax some of the social distancing rules that keep us from being with each other. I don’t believe it’s safe yet. But it sure would be nice.

Hiring weather

I caught my first glimpse of Oregon years ago on a February spring day. I was interviewing for my first job out of college and I heard the weather called “hiring weather.” This meant that fresh-eyed college kids like me would be easy to impress.

Was I! I was stunned by the sunny weather. And the blue skies. I could see snow-capped Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens on the horizon. I’d been warned that Oregon was mostly grey skies and rain, and that it would be a depressing, dreary place to live. Nobody had told me about this.

It was snowing when I left Colorado earlier that week. I was eager to take my next steps after school, very aware it meant moving away from home and taking on the work I had studied long to do. Even more than the sun, I was amazed by all the bulbs that were in bloom. Bright daffodils. Tulips. White and purple crocuses.

This morning, many years after I caught that first glimpse of Oregon, our yard is vibrant in yellow and purple with its annual show of February bulbs.

I believe this day is medicine, every bit as much as the Sinemet and Ropinerole that I take. I sit on the front steps and feel the sun on my face. As in-depth as science has studied dopamine, the only clear link I can find between dopamine and the sun is a theory that sunlight increases the number of dopamine receptors. This creates vitamin D which activates the genes that release dopamine. That’s good enough for me.

I think of the words of Thich Nhat Hanh: “You are a child of the sun, you come from the sun… and the earth is in you.”

Tomorrow is soon enough for the skies to be grey and rainy. Today I will read and sketch and make music and drink tea. Today is “hiring weather” and I want to hire whatever there is to hire. That includes several bright yellow bunches of daffodils out today, showcasing our yard.