I can sleep as long as I want. Nothing to get up for anyway except the usual morning routine of washing, dressing, making coffee, walking the dog. Dave feeds him while I cook breakfast. While we eat, we listen to NPR describe the ongoing crisis in parts near and far. When breakfast is finished, I move to the recliner in the living room with my tablet and read from various online sources further developments. Dave cleans the kitchen and soon joins me. Before long, I have had enough news. It all blurs together into one comprehensive crisis with true leadership coming mainly from local and state public servants.
“Shall we meditate?” I ask. It has become our morning habit: to light a candle on the bedroom dresser and sit in our chairs by the two windows on either side of it. He starts the online timer for twenty minutes and we settle in. A few slow deep breaths bring me to myself. I am tired, deeply tired. The past two months have been full of unusual family stress, people dying, getting sick, marriages breaking up or not, offering what help I can, waking at 4 am with worry. I feel grateful for my ever patient trustworthy mate. Maybe a time of retreat will be good. Inside my mind, I repeat the familiar phrases, focus on those closest to me: May I be well, may I be free from suffering, may I have the ease of well-being, may I be happy, may I be free from all forms of danger and harm.
Later I have a hair appointment. My hairdresser and I have an email conversation about whether to postpone my hair cut. I suggest continuing with thorough hand washing by both of us. She agrees. After all, this is her livelihood. My hair has already been washed so it doesn’t take long. She wets it just enough and snip snip it’s done. Then blow dry and pay. I use a card rather than cash. She provides a wet wipe for me to clean my card and hands. I even wipe my phone screen which is over due. We wish each other to stay well and I leave.
Over lunch, we decide to give a donation to the Interfaith Council for Social Services. We recognize our privileged position. We are retired and comfortable. The homeless, the poor and hungry people in our community will surely be hardest hit by this crisis. I go online to their website and in a few clicks I’m done. It’s so easy.
I’m 72 now and enjoy time after lunch to rest. I write in my journal my reflections of the day then pick up my latest novel. I don’t really nap but, if my eyes grow heavy, I close them. The novel I’m reading is a sad one, The Gathering by Anne Enright. I don’t mind at all when I sink into a brief oblivion. Maybe it will end on an uplifting note. I’ll find out soon, maybe tomorrow. I’m almost finished. Then I’ll choose another. With one click, I can buy it on my Kindle. It’s so easy and, yes, another sign of my privilege. And yes, humans have been through such times before. I reflect on the mystery of being taken down for a time by something we cannot see.