Pandemic Thoughts

I am sitting in my easy chair, gazing at my computer screen, where I can see my reflection as I type. There I am, sunlight and shadow playing across my face, as the branches of the tree outside the window wave in the breeze and share their delight with me. And I amazed at how rich I feel, breathing freely, smiling at myself, at my good fortune in this moment. How good it is to be alive.

Here we are, almost mid-May and a Polar Vortex has descended upon us! Tonight the temperature is supposed to dip to -6C, so it will be interesting to see if those wee radish plants make it through the night tonight. The radish plants lasted right up until mid-November last fall, but it may be harder for young seedlings to hang on through frigid temperatures, than it is for established plants. If I remember, if we don’t get the predicted snow overnight, I will mist the radish seedlings with 20C water in tomorrow morning, that might help.

Although it is quite cold, it is bright and sunny this morning, but the weather people say it will cloud over by noon. A heavy frost has encrusted the landscape, melting away at the sun’s first gentle touch. The house was 17.5C this morning, the heat has been turned off since last Sunday. This morning, since my fingers and joints were feeling quite stiff, the heat was turned on again.

I’ve just been reading (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) that we could expect the pandemic to circulate for about two more years, which was estimated by some from the very beginning. The easing of the restrictions does not mean we are free and clear, it just means that human leaders are attempting to keep our infrastructures going, and the curve flat enough, to ensure those who will survive-with-care can access care, there may be more lock-downs to come, and more severe waves of the viral infection to come. I hope they are wrong of course, that we are nearing the end, and I hope not to be one of the inevitable deaths in this pandemic.

I don’t feel optimistic about a vaccine arriving in time to save everyone. I guess we all know how it feels to wonder if we will survive this time of trouble, except children without underlying health issues, they seem to be surviving, a blessing, even though there are now concerns about the need for hospital intervention for some otherwise healthy children.

I suspect that when we think about this time, years from now, we will remember how interminable it seemed, the not knowing, the worry for loved ones, the isolation, the financial chaos, the toilet paper shortage that seemed so silly a way to usher in such changes, and yet was so very apt.

The birds are still singing merrily in the trees, perched on once bare branches, where leaves are just beginning to unfurl. Squirrels are digging furiously in the gardens. Rabbits are frolicking on the lawns and in the hedges. Small insects dance together in the early and late slanted rays of the sun. The world, the natural world, is as fresh and clean and beautiful and happy as I have seen it since I was a child. Mother earth seems to be breathing a lot easier these days, sighing with relief.

Here at Mist Cottage we are making the most of our time, focusing on the things we can do, on what we have. What we have is safety at home, adequate food, adequate shelter, and our health. We pay as little attention as possible to our greater context. Each morning we read a bit about what is going on around us, talk about it, express our fears, our hopes, our dreams. Then we put the outside world away, tuck it into a loose lidded box until the next morning comes along. The danger for us is to either grow tired, or to forget, that the pandemic is real even though we can’t see it. Our morning reviews help us to remain vigilant, and flexible. We feel we have agency while we are still healthy, so we focus on our health, and our happiness, because that is also important for good health.

We are so very lucky that we have lost only one extended family member to the virus, on Attila’s side, and no friends or loved ones. Everyone in our circle is being careful, doing their best, protecting themselves and others. We are in this for the long haul.

Stay safe dear friends.



Date: 7:00 AM EDT Friday 8 May 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 1.6°C
Dew point: -3.9°C
Humidity: 67%
Wind: W 28 gust 39 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate.”
George Burns
1896 – 1996