Shelter-in-Place

My son is incredulous.  You spent 18 minutes watching a porcupine at the Cincinnati Zoo?  Yes, I inform him, and though it’s for kids, adults, too, can send in a creative project showing what they learned.

“What did you learn,” he asks, adult now to my child.  “I learned how cute they are, how curious, and how even in a safe environment, they might feel fear and lift their quills.  They can’t shoot their quills, and they need interaction. They love to climb and this little guy had to learn how to use his tail as a fifth leg.  Mainly I saw how much we and porcupines need and love stimulation.”

I point out to my son that he has the joy of being sheltered-in-place with his adorable five and a half month old son.  He is stimulated. I want to learn something new every day too.

Mainly though I’m grateful for the gift of being able to shelter-in-place.  I understand that travel from our country has infected people in other countries. A doctor in India points out that many people there, and here, too, of course, have no ability to socially isolate or sanitize their hands. 

I’m a person of privilege, and I know and appreciate it.  I Face Time with my sons and grandson every day, and yet, even so, or maybe because of it, I enjoy watching the Jellies at the Monterey Bay aquarium, and reading about Orangutans playing with otters at a zoo in Belgium, and seeing a porcupine explore his human-created environment. 

Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five star general who not only served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe during WWII, but was also president of the United States from 1953 to 1961 said that: Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.

Imagine if we had that kind of leadership now, and yet this requires each of us to wake up and enter into responsibility for our lives and responses.  Our Interdependence is clear, and we thrive on interaction, touch, stimulation, connection, and Love!!

Baby pine cones in my yard
Jasmine Thriving

Stillness

I’ve read many books on coming to slowness.  I came to slowness when I trekked in Nepal, and when I went through chemotherapy and radiation, and when I broke bones in both my feet and couldn’t walk.  Slowness. Stillness.

It’s so still here this morning the wind chimes hang, no sound.  The trees and clouds are so still I feel like I’m living in a matte painting.  A friend says to view this time of sheltering-in-place as being on a retreat.  Yes.

Anne Lamott writes, Peace is joy at rest and joy is peace on its feet.

In this moment, I’m peace listening to the twitter of birds while all seems still.  

The sky this morning

Wind chime hangs still to receive

Pure Gold

When my children were young and at home, I savored cooking, made homemade soups, and baked bread and desserts.  Then, we realized two people cannot realistically consume what a family of four might, especially when it’s been more, when you include extra children and friends, so with the current proliferation of prepared foods, cooking has become minimal. 

Now, as we shelter in place, cooking is again an appreciated and celebrated  gift. We discuss our meals with intensity. I cook in quantity, and freeze, something I’d stopped doing when our power was out for five days in the fall, and we lost everything in our freezer and refrigerator. 

Now our lives swing around food, and when this is over, we may need to swing from very strong trees so they don’t break.  

Like toilet paper, food right now, is gold.  Today I made broth for soup, cooking chicken, carrots, celery, onion, ginger, and lemons for hours.  After straining, I froze some of the golden elixir and some will become soup. The chicken awaits.

This care and presence reminds me of water rationing.  Where I live, we are dependent on our reservoirs, so when it doesn’t rain water is rationed. Buckets are placed in the shower. The water is used to flush the toilet. Nothing is wasted, and again there’s a gift in noticing and honoring what flows through our pipes.  

Recently we watched the movie A Hidden Life.  The movie is beautiful and intense so we watched it in two nights. It shows the beauty, work, and wonder of being a farmer,  of procuring food, milking cows, gathering eggs, growing cabbages and wheat. It also shows what a family endures for their values, ethics,  and deep inner knowing of truth. Where does each of us stand? How much can we endure? Do we give way, or not?

The movie moves through me as does my life right now.  I am a colander, strainer, sieve. The only way I can handle what keeps coming is to allow movement through.  I stand, like a sprinkler, in flow and release.  

Spring Showers

It’s raining softly, the sweetest of sounds, and Bella is snoring softly next to me, also, the sweetest of sounds. I’m with all we share as this crisis brings us together.

If we have access to the internet and phones, we’re gathering even closer together with family and friends, and yet, in contrast, if we get the virus, we may pass away in isolation. 

We’re like the rain coming down, seemingly a collection, but really a composite of drops that enter the soil to be carried through earthworms, birds, flowers, and trees.

We are the river and the drop.

Moisture

We connect in moisture; we come from the sea.

I’m noticing that with Senna Dog’s passing and the shared connective tissue of love and grief, my eyes and heart are wet and moist much of the time.  I just Face Timed with my son and five month old grandson. We don’t let my grandson see me but he hears and responds to my voice. Tears of love and joy pour down my face, as I feel us connected in this sea of Love we all share.

May we work now for the benefit of All, with deep gratitude to those who are keeping the world functioning amidst a pandemic not seen in my lifetime.  We share a sea of air and we share in this passage with each breath.

May this day bring ease!

The Weight of Grief

Senna Dog passed at 10:30 last night.  I felt his passing, felt him come to calm and release.  His sweet, gentle spirit carried me with him into the light.

Facetime allowed me to see the body he left behind.  He passed in his home with his human parents right there.  He only suffered a short time.  

Now this morning, I feel the weight of grief, the weight of loss.  I woke from a dream where a child and I were underwater struggling not to drown.  I was trying to save her, but then there was a release and she floated gently down as I floated up.

I feel like all the cliches, like I’ve been hit by a truck and am lying under a pile of bricks.

Slowly I go, and once again, I round myself, circle around the fire I am, and the circles we are, and console on the words of John Squadra:

When you love, you complete a circle. When you die, the circle remains. 

Senna loved.  He loved with every fiber of his being, and when he saw me or others, he bounced and danced which is no small thing when you have long, slender greyhound legs.  He reminded me of my Grandmother who laughed with her whole being, like a child. Though she’d been through the loss of her husband during the depression leaving her with three young children, and though her son went off to pilot a B-17 in WWII, and shot down, was imprisoned in a POW camp so she didn’t know if he was dead or alive, she still kept her ability to laugh with her whole being.

Grief carves us out like a tree made into a canoe, so we can hold more joy, and rather than rooted, float downstream, making our way to the sea.

Right now love circles in my heart, a beacon, heavy with light and the weight of grief.