Tortoise

Oh, you do me wrong. Would I do anything wicked? I’m a peaceful soul, bothering nobody and leading a gentle, herbivorous life. And my thoughts merely drift among the oddities and quarks of how things are (as I see them). I, humble observer of phenomena, plod along and puff my silly words into the air rather unspectacularly, I am afraid.”

— Tortoise, Godel Escher Bach, Douglas Hofstadter

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Today is the last day of temperatures over 70 degrees for a while, they say. I can see a severe dip in temperature and snow in the extended forecast. I had hoped we could plan a hiking trip next week, but the trails will probably be muddy for a while after that. Oh well, there is plenty of time and the days are only going to go on growing warmer now.

The words weren’t flowing so well today so I gave myself permission to skip the writing so long as I promise to give it my best again come morning. I’m reading instead and have already finished On the Beach at Night Alone by Walt Whitman and am now sitting half-way through A Cup Of Sake Beneath The Cherry Trees by Yoshida Kenkō. With nothing else to do today, I think I’ll go ahead and finish it, then start on Borne by Jeff VanderMeer.

Some days all this time is welcome, some days it’s more than I can bear. Looking forward is anxiety inducing and imagining the sheer number of days to come that are filled with nothing paralyzes me. I have to take them one at a time. Time has to become irrelevant for now. There is just right now and what I have and the little I can do with it. It has to be okay. It has to be enough.

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The warm and sunny Spring weather continues. The morning birds chirping have returned and branches everywhere are budding and with it all brings small moments when I can forget, when I can pretend it is only Sunday rather than whatever day it is and that I am choosing to stay in to relax to forget about work rather than being forced.

Our plan was to grocery shop today, but there are warnings circulating about the coming weeks being the most important for social distancing. We are considering putting it off as long as possible. Near the end of the week we’ll head out to buy provisions for an at home birthday celebration. I’ve settled on steamed crab legs, artichokes, and cheesy risotto, cheesecake and a bottle of pinot grigio, if at all possible.

I’m back at the WordPress Discover prompts. I could not complete yesterday’s post but it is saved in my Google docs and I will keep chipping away at it until I get it done. I’m going to treat every day like that. I’ll do my best and write as much as I can. If I can finish something I will post it, whether I think it’s good or not. If I cannot finish it, I will keep at it until I do. My goal is all posts will still have been published by April 30th. I’m working out what a project in May might look like.

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As stressful and distressing as it to stay indoors, it is so much harder to leave the house and go anywhere. Wearing a mask is especially upsetting and my wife and i have decided that when we travel together one of us will stay in the car and we’ll alternate. This way we minimize exposure and neither of us has to feel so oppressed or suffocated inside the masks the whole time.

The juxtaposition of the inner distress against the gorgeous weather and the signs of spring all around is jarring. Normally I am rejoicing this time of you, my joy building by the day to peak midsummer, but I’m reluctant to allow these good feelings to take hols inside of me. I cannot begin to awaken to the season. There is so little to love, so little to feel good about now.

It’s hard to know whether whatever you feel is reasonable or if you have sunk to such depths of despair that everything is seen through a depressing light and exaggerated. You begin to wonder in this seclusion, “Is this who I am without anyone else?”. I’m beginning to take the lack of phone calls and text personally and marking my reluctance to send any in turn as a personal failure of character and heart.

And things keep getting worse too. Now the summer events are being cancelled too. Visits I was so looking forward too are off the table. How can I plan anything when I don’t even know if I will be paid? At least no one is disagreeing with me and there is no accompanying weight of guit to carry. This is no ones fault and we all have to make the hard choice.

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I had to get out of the house today. A piece of our back deck has been falling off, and we needed some rope and a new ladder to fix it, so off to Home Depot we went.

Yesterday the governor recommend that all citizens, when venturing out and entering places where social distancing is difficult, should wear a cloth covering or mask over their nose and mouth. My wife made some no-sew masks out of old shirts and hair ties last night and though I felt very reluctant and uncomfortable wearing them I sucked up my apprehension and anxiety and did what I needed to do to protect others.

For me, the mask didn’t make me feel any less anxious or protected. I felt more afraid and uncertain. I felt further convinced that the world was falling apart around me. It made the danger more real and more threatening than ever. It made me not want to leave the house ever again. We got in the store, got what we needed, and as much as I wanted to browse around, that mask was fogging up my glasses and making it hard for me to breathe so I paid and got back home as fast as I could.

As nerve-wracking as the trip was, the sun and fresh air still did me good. The warm weather has returned, and the neighborhood was alive again. It felt good to hear them all working in their yards. I could hear the dogs barking and the kids playing outside and for a while it sounded like a typical Saturday, like nothing at all was wrong in the whole world. It felt so good my wife refused to let me turn on the news tonight. Let’s let this peace last a little longer yet.

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The announcement I have been waiting on has finally been sent out. The rest of the school year will be conducted remotely. It’s unclear what that means for those like me who work in transportation beyond the fact that are not going to be returning before at least the end of May. Summer school is up in the air along with just about everything other aspect of society and life. I’m going increasingly worried about what our finances will look like and how I will cope with possibly two more months quarantined indoors.

I’m also thinking about what I could do with this time too. After I finish this blogging challenge and I’m looking at all the blank days of May with the practice and confidence of April under my belt, maybe then would be a good time to start something new. A chapbook or a zine, perhaps? I’ve always wanted to self publish a little book of essays or poems. A whole month of free time might just be enough to do it. Even that possibility is too far away to be real. Let me get through these next few weeks. Let us all get through the next few weeks, and then what is possible will be much clearer.