Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Upside of the Downside

Make no mistake. We haven't hit bottom. If anything, these days feel like the calm before the real storm. When, similar to the autumn of 2008, the experts proclaimed the economy would meltdown, but we really weren't sure what that prediction meant. So, call this post the rose-colored-glasses or looking-at-the-bright-side version of a pandemic. First, let me clarify, the economic downturn is a tab in the file cabinet labeled: FATALITIES. For all the thousands (just in the U.S.A.) who have and will die, for the survivors, for the pain and suffering and the inability to succor and mourn properly, I commiserate in grief.

Here is where I find comfort: each day, the leaves have grown. The trees in my yard started six weeks ago without a leaf on them, and now they are full. I've watched the process every day, which I couldn't have witnessed had I been at my desk job. The leaves do not know the chaos undermining humanity.

And, my grass is mowed. Well, you might ask, isn't mowing something you always do? And, I will admit, not necessarily. I wanted to bring some structure to the chaos, and my yard guy was happy to take the job. He mowed the same day I called. In some ways, I felt a sense of duty to still use him. Give him an immediate focus and a check. He didn't say so, but the look on his face told me what went unsaid.

The sheets are clean on my bed. Again, you'll wonder again, is that any different than before? Yes, it is, because it was done out of a conscious need to nest. Nesting is the new overachieving. Clean sheets make the world seem better, even if it isn't. And, I've hung sheets and towels and clothes to dry on the clothesline. This seems appropriate. Because life has slowed down. I don't feel rushed. Haste is not on my calendar. The whir and thunk of the dryer may become a relic of the frenzied life of going-and-doing, and right now, those opportunities and obligations are far fewer.

Photo of black cat napping in a laundry basket.
Cat nap in a basket.
I receive a postcard now about once a week from a friend in Portland, Ore. We have begun a jovial correspondence. A distraction but a connection. The cards don't really say much but signal we are alive and haven't lost our marbles. You could easily lose them, you know. (Of course, you do.) Postcards are amazing at mental uplift. Would you like one? I'll send a few. Soon, you'll be waltzing to the mailbox in great anticipation.

And, of course, I have my three cats, Ollie (right), Fish, and Slayer. I won't wax on about my fondness for them. Anyone who has more than one in the house automatically qualifies as cat infatuated. And, who among us has not had a COVID nightmare? Well, this week, my dream was not a nightmare but a strange product of my feline domesticity. One of my cats spoke its first word: "Yes." Then I realized it had been speaking to me for quite some time. In full sentences, naturally. And in these unnatural times, odd has an entirely different meaning.

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