There’s hardly anything I can do right now because of COVID-19. I can’t be around family and friends. I can’t eat inside restaurants. I can’t go to the gym. That one’s really not as relevant since I didn’t go to the gym before COVID-19…
But I might go to the gym if I could!
I can’t go to the grocery store whenever I want–I have to go to the first hour that’s set aside for us seniors in order to avoid the hordes of people. I can’t go shopping in a store without concern. I can’t teach in a classroom.
We left school for Spring Break this past school year. We knew there were issues with this new virus that was creeping through the world. But we never realized that we would not return to the school building after Spring Break. We never realized that we would begin using new phrases and new behaviors. Social distancing. Physical distancing. Shelter at home. Shelter in place. Flatten the curve. You need to unmute. You need to mute. This isn’t remote or distance learning; it’s emergency learning. Maskers. Anti-maskers. Essential workers. Only 3% will die. Be aware of your privilege. Zoom.
Zoom classes. Zoom meetings. Zoom backgrounds. Zoom concerts. Zoom theater. Zoom-Zoom-Zoom!
So… I’ve been sheltering at home since the middle of March. It’s now the beginning of August. Four and a half months. And what have I accomplished in that time? What constructive things have I done in four and a half months? Actually, very little. But I’ll leave that discussion for another blog post.
Over the next few days, I want to talk about what I did accomplish so far during this COVID-19 pandemic while I have spent hours and hours by myself, shut away from everyone except my sweet kitty cat, Gigi.
I preface this list of accomplishments with a caveat. I spent a great deal of time sleeping, watching television, crying, and being depressed. But the secret is to get back up and go on. And I did, again and again.
There are several things that I have not done for many years. Creative things. Things I have loved and then put aside, not completely forgotten, but left along the way. I picked up some of those things and examined them, and remembered them, and loved them–again.
I wrote poetry again.
At the end of March, I saw that April is considered National Poetry Month by the Academy of American Poets. America’s Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo, suggested that Americans read a poem a day during April as one way to celebrate. I decided that I would try to write a poem a day during April as a way to celebrate. I didn’t accomplish a poem every day, but I did write several. Here are a few examples:
I Cry Why do you cry? Said they. I cry for the losses-- Those that have been And those to come. Said I. When will the tears stop? Said they. Never... Said I. --Dawn Behrens
The Plague The sun shines, but The world is dark. A plague has crushed The caring heart. To save the young. The old must pay And sacrifice To save the day. Economies Are failing now According to The great god Dow. But will it really Be all right If elderly Give up the fight? Or will the plague Just worsen then And pit the young Against their kin? --Dawn Behrens
Beggar’s Choice Beggars can’t be choosers. What a sad refrain. As if the thing we really need Is what we shouldn’t gain. You lost your job? On food stamps? You think that you deserve A soda or some ice cream? Oh, wow, you’ve got some nerve! The virus means you school at home. You have no internet? Won’t graduate, my friend. Too bad! Requirements were not met. You should have thought of money And planned and skimped and saved. Don’t make enough to put some back? Then some things must be waived. You can’t be choosy about your life Unless you have the funds. A beggar’s only choice can be Absolutely none. --Dawn Behrens
Sing Me a Song Sing me a song to remind me How strong and resilient we are. Sing me a song to prepare me To respond to what the virus brings. Sing me a song to comfort me Amid the mounting stress. Sing me a song to assure me That everyone is doing their part. Sing me a song to amaze me About all the heroes during this time. Sing me a song to delight me At those sharing laughter and joy. Sing me a song to renew me So I can keep going. Sing me a song to guide me To the best actions. Sing me a song to soothe me When fear threatens to overcome. Sing me a song to wake me To what I can do for a positive future Once we can go out again… --Dawn Behrens
The secret is to get back up and go on. And I did, again and again.