Day 3

E:
We woke up to a redo of yesterday’s white morning.  It’s Groundhog Day!  That’s not funny…

M wanted his chai stronger. I poured without rationing.  What’s the point of living with weak chai?  That’s not living.

I spoke on the phone with my lover.  We have talked on the phone more in the past two weeks than in the past six years.  I don’t think that is an exaggeration.

We worked.  We ate meals.  Together. We moved in and out of rooms. There are three fish in the tank.  We remarked that there are three.  Just like us.  The fish are so happy since their world is brighter.  I am not sure they are happy.  Maybe it’s just that we can see them so clearly. If one dies now, I can’t replace it like I did with that hamster a few years back…when M knew anyway because the first one snuggled in her hands and the second one bit kids.  That was rough.  I came clean.

We went on another beautiful hike…friends far apart and close together. I roasted a chicken.  When I said that to M, he said, “What did you say to it?”

When I changed a roll of toilet paper, I had a feeling.

I spoke with my mom. I miss her.  We are very much together, despite.

Right now, both of my children are talking to their friends on various forms of headsets, air pods, virtual chatting, as they look at screens.  I am ok with it.  It’s Friday night. I texted for almost an hour with friends S & C in San Francisco & Oakland and my brother in Oregon.  I laughed so hard I cried.  Salve.

M:
Today was a little more difficult, but i knew it would be like that. I know that the mood and everything goes up and down. We have good days and we have bad days. I did a lot of math work today and it was really hard because I just kept thinking of the weekend but now the weeknd feels different and less exciting. I went on a hike with Eleni and that was more fun than the last time because we actually talked like we used too. We weren’t talking about The virus or anything, we were talking about guys and food. I loved not thinking about it for that short amount of time. The only reason it was harder was because I couldn’t hug my best friend and I wanted to really bad. When I got home I started to paint everything I could possibly paint and I Facetimed my friends. For the rest of the day I’ve been calmly sitting in my room and watching American Horror story. I have a love hate relationship with this self isolation. I love that I have my time to myself and that I can sit quietly with my own mind. I hate that I can’t see my friends and the only form of communication is over the phone. I miss being able to cuddle up close with my friends and watch a movie. The only house I’m allowed to be in is my own and that’s so weird to me. My dad is stuck in Telluride by himself and that makes me feel sad. I wish I could give him company. I miss my dog and my family. I’m worried that my family might get sick, but worrying will not keep me happy. While writing this I’m sitting on the phone with my friends and we’re laughing. Hearing constant laughter makes me know for a fact that this will all be okay. 

M:
Today we went on another hike after doing our homework and playing video games. I was playing games with my friend Noah. During the hike I got tired and laid down on a bench. Today we were also talking about getting tested for coronavirus but decided it was not going to happen right now. Things feel about as normal as they can feel. I feel adjusted to the precautions we are taking for the virus. The one thing I am mad about is that I can’t see my dad or hang out with my friends in Telluride because we can’t go up.

A Colorado Family’s Home Journal, the Coronavirus Edition…Day 2

E:
Today was a new day. We opened our eyes to a white world. Fresh snow.  Something settled. Softer than yesterday.

I woke up full of gratitude for the washing machine. The heat.

The cold outside turned us inward.  We settled in around our work.  I spoke to my colleagues in California and Virginia…heard their stories.  Everyone is working at home with their kids.  It’s so nice to feel connected to them.

M cut her own hair. Two inches.  When I walked into the bathroom, all of her friends were on a video chat with scissors.  All cutting their own hair (with varied results).  All laughing. “Please come over and help me fix it!” … “Oh. Right.”

I spoke with the people I love on the phone…my mother, my lover.  So many heartfelt texts and emails with new friends and old friends…these connections are everything.

We walked this afternoon with one other family, and it was magical.  The terrain started on a concrete bike path, then dipped down an embankment to the left and turned into singletrack.  We walked single file, keeping our distance.  The rule is that people who belong in the same family can walk close together, so there are these varying formations that happen as the collective moves forward, like Canadian geese.

Today we talked more about movies than coronavirus.

We crossed a bridge over a river.  I could have stayed by that river for the rest of daylight. We stayed a moment, my two kids and I.  M sat on a slab with her legs dangling – swinging her feet over the water. M was standing with his hands in his pockets. Stillness.  We were silent.   It washed my insides.  There was nothing else in the world.  Then the trail twisted through sage and juniper.  The morning snow had turned to the first green grass.

I’ve lived in this town for fourteen years.  I go on a lot of walks.  I have never been on this path.  M drove home on the back roads for practice.  She parked in the garage for the first time.  Perfectly.

When we came home, I cleaned the fish tank. I’ve been procrastinating this job for longer than I want to admit. In the background was a live concert stacked with musicians performing from living rooms all over the country.  A month ago, I wanted to get rid of the fish tank for good.  I’m so sick of cleaning that thing.  Today I want to buy more fish.  Can you order fish online?

The kids are helping more with dinner and dishes.  M’s entire energy has shifted.  She cleaned her room.  She painted two bic lighters – one is the night sky over the mountains, and one is the sunrise.

M is tired.  He’s not used to staying up so late every night, and he always wakes up early, so it is catching up to him over the past few days.  Before bed he danced to Prince in the living room.

M:
Day two was definitely less emotionally intense than day one. We started off the day by doing our school work. I finished my work then joined a facetime call with my friends. It was relaxing to hear that they are all in the same situation that I am. I feel less alone knowing that my friends are all stuck inside too. Of course, I do wish that we were all free, but for the time being I am content. Sooner than I thought, I’ve made peace with staying inside. I was definitely pissed in the beginning, but I have to realize that I am so privileged  to have a full supply of food and to know that my loved ones are safe. I’m not saying everything is perfect because there has been a small amount of worry sitting in the back of my head. I’m thinking about what would happen if someone I knew got fatally sick. I’m trying to keep this out of my mind because I shouldn’t be worried about something that hasn’t happened yet. I wait and wait for the next email saying school is going to be delayed later because we all know it’s going to happen. There has been much more peace in my house and the tension seems to have lifted. Around 3:30, we went on a beautiful hike. We walked over bridges and through trees. At first I didn’t want to go but once I was sitting on the side of the river I knew that that was exactly where I was supposed to be. I was cut off from communication and I was sitting there, finally not thinking about this virus, but simply watching the water flow over the rocks. At that moment I was not scared or upset, I was happy. From that point on, the whole day was built around that energy and everything has felt lighter and easier. 

M:
Today we woke up and did our school work from 9-12 it was pretty easy whew then went on a hike. After that we went back home. Today was more normal than yesterday. We also might be getting tested for coronavirus. Not much to write about because today wasn’t very eventful but it was fun.

 

A Colorado Family’s Home Journal, the Coronavirus Edition…Day 1

Day One.
by:  E, M & M

E:
Today is the first day of our family COVID-19 journal.  We have been in self-isolation since Monday.   The slow realization of what this means is dawning hourly upon each of us. Everything from…maybe we shouldn’t drink all the juice in one day to what do you mean I can’t see my (fill in the blank…best friend, lover, dad, Roxy the dog)?

We have started a routine. No sleeping past 9am.  This only applies to one of us as the other two are up early drinking tea, making coffee, checking in on the news, listening to music. At 9am, we all sit down with our laptops and start working.  Fortunately, the kids’ school is totally rocking, and they are working on assignments and participating in online classroom chats.  It is hard to describe how much gratitude I have for these educators.  I am working, too.  Thankfully.

So we have our work time, then it’s lunch.  Then we go outside for a hike, a walk, etc.  As of today, we are going with one other family that we are very close to, and it’s hard to stay six feet apart.  What’s harder is reminding the kids to stay six feet apart – they are mad at us for being so annoying and we are frustrated that we have to be the enforcers.  But we are making light of it too.  Today our friends brought pieces of yarn cut to six feet so that we could hold the ends while we walked – to be sure we were the appropriate distance.  (The girls started it yesterday when they brought a tape measure – to make fun of us –  hilarious.)

We are fine on food. Cooking feels so good.  It’s so normal and I feel like I can support my kids, our health and our spirits through meals.  Maybe it’s the Jewish grandmother in me.

We had a blowout today. This is hard on 15-year-olds. They want their friends and I understand.  The anger needs to come out at someone, and that someone is the enforcer…mom.  Today the anger finally turned to tears…for both of us.  And that felt much better.  This is sadness.  Loss, shock…and just totally beyond the realm of comprehension.

Everything has slowed down. We listen to each other.  Dinners last longer.  We get frustrated with each other.  We navigate how much screen time, how much time is ok to spend in one’s own room, how much milk we should use in a day, do we should go to the orthodontist or not (cancelled), do we should play pick up soccer outside or not (not), who is doing what, why are there people in that restaurant? Why are we home?  I am making a list of chores as I think of them and still haven’t tackled one.  It is supposed to snow tomorrow.

We started an email between all of the neighbors on our block so that we can be in touch. I’ve never really liked the phone (except for when I was 15).  I’m accepting the fact that I will talk on the phone to stay connected to the people I really, really love a lot.  And I will enjoy it.

We are doing our very best. I’m so proud of the kids.  Despite the massive adjustments, I  feel positive in my core.  There are dolphins and swans swimming in the canals in Venice.  The water is clear.  They can see fish.

M:
Day one has been one of the most emotionally filled days of my life. I feel happy that the world’s nature is coming back to life and that I get to experience this time while living in a safe environment. On the flip side, I feel unbelievably sad and alone. I feel like I’ve lost all my power and the thought of having months of this makes me want to cry. I’m allowed to be with my family, but when I think about it, my friends are my family and not being able to be around them kills me. I’m not allowed to hug the people that give me life. I am starting to learn how some people feel in the fall when everything is getting dark and they have to stay inside because of the cold. I have never felt like that because I love the winter, but this time of the year is when the flowers start to grow and the trees get green. The animals are supposed to start coming around more. We aren’t supposed to have a global pandemic. I got in a fight with my mom today because of the tension. We yelled at each other and that sucked a lot and I just wanted to keep screaming. I was so mad because like a normal teenager, I was blaming her. I was blaming her for not letting me see my friends because I thought it was her fault. After I took a moment, I thought about the severity of this situation and there is nowhere to place the blame because it’s no one’s fault and at the same time it’s everyone’s fault, the world is simply fighting back. I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that this is going to be my life for a while and I think I’m about to accept it. Today I facetimed my friends in Telluride and they told me about how state officials are coming to their houses and testing them. They told me about San Miguel county shutting down. This made me realize that I’m not going to see them or my dad for longer than I thought. I went on a hike today with my friend and it felt so weird staying six feet away from her. I love her and all I want is to hug her and go through this with her. We still get to talk, but in the future we might not even be allowed to leave our houses.  Even though I have all these sad emotions, this whole “quarantine” thing might have a silver lining because I will bond with my family and we will learn things about each other that we would have never known. The world is falling apart but saving itself at the same time. We are all experiencing an event in history and I know it will be hard then easy then hard again. We have to remember that nothing has ever not gotten easier. And in the whole grand scheme of things, a couple months doesn’t seem so bad. 

M:
The first 24 hours of school being shut down have been weird. We went on 2 walks and had to stay 6 feet apart. We did our school work from home from 9 -12. We can’t go to other friends houses but we are still having fun. The one bad thing is that we have to stay 6 feet apart. I had an orthodontist appointment scheduled for tomorrow but we cancelled. I also can’t go up to Telluride because nobody is able to leave San Miguel County. I won’t get to see my dad and dog until April 3rd at least. That time is expected to change so most likely longer.

Sending everyone out there so much love,
E, M & M

Hattie Shares the Honey Wine

Hattie’s brother died
by his own hands,
she reads the menu,

says order the 50/50,
half of this and half of that,
and we use our fingers

to scoop Ethiopian wat
in soft injera sponges,
come for the open

mic, says Hattie,
it’s tomorrow night.
Hattie is a painter

of the old wall kind,
shaman of the fallen,
she peels off

the burned-out
boards, gives the dying
one more story,

day after day
splattered
in paint, patient

like Baltimore, like
slow jazz, sweet
as honey wine.

Got to Speak Your Mind

That old crow on the post, oh what’s she got to do?
She’s not thinking ‘bout the weather, she’s just looking at you,
but your minds so tied, you didn’t see her ‘til she flew,
let it fly, you got to speak your mind.

Up ahead there’s a track, it goes on forever,
and you’re ridin’ down the line through the storm and the weather,
and this train will take you places, through the plain and the pleasure,
on this ride, you got to speak your mind.

Cause this river is rising, gonna pull you in,
it’s about damn time that you learn how to swim,
why wait for it to take you when you could ‘a jumped in,
this time, you got to speak your mind.

There’s an old man sitting on the side of the tracks,
he’s got a dollar in his hat and fatigues on his back
when you give him two dollars, his blue eyes ask,
today friend, did you speak your mind?

The clouds are gonna gather and the rain is gonna come,
and the meanness and the lies will strike like lightning, like a gun,
but the truth will shine through like a rising sun,
every time, you got to speak your mind.

I don’t go to your church, you don’t like the Grateful Dead,
I want cheese for breakfast, and you gave up eating bread,
you’re lookin’ so serious, and I’m out of my head,
we both got to speak our minds, yes we do, yes
we all got to speak our minds.

 

 

 

On Rising

White rime
on every stick,
on every bough,
like the first light
that illuminates

the downy branches 
of a woman waking,
under a dome so blue 
it’s almost black, 
and behind that,

infinity.
How the whole 
world is remade
beneath a fresh blanket
of snow, how it softens

yesterday’s questions,
and the body blessed
with sweet opening
turns toward
another morning.