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

Letter to the Answer Men

Dear
Don Trump, Scott Pruitt, and Ryan Zinke,

Please help us understand why
it’s raining in the Colorado mountains
in December.

Signed,

The Deer
Black Bears
Beavers
Ravens
Rabbits
Bald Eagles
Elk
Owls
Chipmunks
Bighorn Sheep
Wild Horses
Coyotes
Squirrels
Moose
River Otters
Fox
Sage Grouse
Red-Tailed Hawks
Marmots
and Children

Minnesota Creek

Up past Lily Lane,
winter tires sink deep
into January

mud, and the road
gets twisty
beneath the width

of a silver truck.
Fields tattooed
with the feet

of ruddy cattle
give way to high
country ranchland,

and we drive
over sparkling passes
and into the sky,

into the cold, clean air
like the wild geese,
honest and free,

living our lives
like this
on a Saturday,

flying toward sunlight
and into
the great blue.

Wildflowers

Five rustling riders
whoop down a mountainside.
Purple finds them

on their wheeled horses,
bare shoulders whipping
against the tall summertime

lupin. They reel in
high alpine passes like great,
colorful fish, laying the groundwork

for next week’s euphoric recall –
even as their weary legs burn
like fire, and spokes fly

like rusted wire – they give themselves
over to drowning
in yet another flaming hillside,

so bright with electric pigment
it is certain to bring a grown human
to her knees

in the wild yellow sunflowers,
amid these ever blossoming
friendships, simultaneously

brand new
and ancient, like the holy
Rocky Mountains.

Driving Between

Stop to notice a
curve in the road –
my mountains ahead,

your mountains behind –
both ranges clear,
defined,

and upward
reaching.   Marvel
these Rockies

that grow even now
beneath February
snow melting

to river – white heights
clear, attainable,
and utterly

wide open
against the bluest
Colorado sky.

December Ramble

We tumble
down the white path
barely there,
past naked aspen
and the tips of sticks
whose buds have yet
to bulge.  Blue river
chimes beneath
the frozen snow,
our shoes not right
for post-holing,
but our stories
enough to ward off darkness
until the parked car appears,
and the sun sinks down
through a starry hole
in the Colorado sky.