Twenty-four more thoughts. 3/22/20


  1. Just a few months ago, during Advent, I read WH Auden’s long poem “For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio” for the first time. He wrote it during the Second World War. In it there is one line that I haven’t been able to shake. Here it is, out of context:
  2. “Nothing can save us that is possible.”
  3. I copied the line down in my journal and I’ve read it again and again.
  4. Like so many of us, I am home now. I’ve got my husband and my dogs. Plenty of firewood and food plus lots of extras: books, Netflix, internet, running water, music, heavy cream for my coffee, salmon and halibut in the freezer. I’m still working, but without the commute. I’m still getting up at six and going to bed at ten. I still have chickens to feed and meals to cook and dishes to wash. There are still bills to pay.
  5. We ordered our seeds last weekend. Not hoards of them, just the ones we need. Carrots, beets, salad greens, peas, onions, zucchini, squash and a variety of tomato that will hopefully ripen before freeze up. We still have a couple feet of snow on the ground but the days are warming and it’s beginning to melt. Tomorrow we’ll plant seeds and from now until we’re able to transplant them into our garden beds our house will be cluttered with trays of green.
  6. We’d planned for a smaller garden this season with a June wedding and a July party taking priority this time around. Now, along with most everyone else we know, we don’t know what to expect or how to plan.
  7. Our lives have been predictable for a long time. Our work weeks and weekends, our planned vacations and our holiday breaks. There is comfort in predictability, but a kind of complacency has sneaked in along side it. Now my days are still predictable for the most part, but I feel a type of vigilance I haven’t felt for a while.
  8. Our daughter and soon-to-be daughter-in-law are in Atlanta, Georgia. They’ve got shelter and stable employment and family close by. They’ve added Ryder, a foster dog, to their pack while they’re holed up at home. He’s a good distraction while they’re waiting it out.
  9. We’re all waiting.
  10. Our son is in Canada. What was originally a three-week long trip to Ottawa has turned into something entirely unknown. He’s good with not knowing what comes next and he has a kind of faith that carries him from moment to moment with a remarkable absence of fear. And he’s figuring it out with a close friend for company.
  11. In a pandemic, it’s good to be stuck with a person you want to spend time with. My pack is lucky that way.
  12. I had a hard time concentrating this week. My mind is always prone to wandering but it was even more off course than usual. On more than a few occasions I found myself completely checked out in the middle of important conversations. Reading anything more than short articles was completely out of the question.
  13. Some people snap to it in times of crisis. I unfortunately drift off. I think of lines of poetry. I’m hyper-aware of small details like the clock ticking louder than usual, the ever-present smell of disinfectant. I want to stand at the sink for an hour with hot water pouring over my hands. The chocolate melting on my tongue requires all of my focus.
  14. One time when our children were young, we returned from an excursion across the bay. While we were unloading the skiff, our daughter fell into the harbor without her life jacket. I saw the whole thing happen but it was like my brain slipped into slow motion. Before I’d even processed the gravity of the situation my husband leapt out of our boat, jumped over me, and yanked her out of the water. I was there to dry her off and soothe her after the fact. But I was not the one to save her life.
  15. I’m lucky to be stuck with someone who snaps to.
  16. Our son called from a grocery store in Ottawa last week to ask for the ingredients for miso soup. Carrots, mushrooms, onions, garlic, ginger, celery, tofu, miso, cayenne, tamari, pepper.
  17. In the recipe description it says, “miso is said to have special healing properties.” Whether it’s true or not we’ve been serving it to our family like medicine for over twenty years.
  18. We’ve got twenty years of anecdotal evidence now, and I can say with certainty that it works, at least in our family. It helps with colds. It helps with hurt feelings. It helps get the blood flowing when the house is cold. And it helps with homesickness.
  19. I made some last night, and I’m counting on it to help improve my concentration.
  20. I guess it makes sense that many of us are feeling out of sorts right now. Just two and a half weeks ago a person from the public health office told our staff that it seemed unlikely that the library would have to cancel any programs or close. Now the building’s doors are locked and we’re working from home. The news is grim with stories of unemployment, financial stress, hospitals under-equipped, and of course the daily tally of new cases.
  21. It’s a lot to process. I wish I could serve up some of that miso soup to the whole world.
  22. I also wish I had a tally of all the good deeds I’ve heard about this week. They reaffirm my faith in humanity and they’ve acted as a counterbalance to the bigness of Covid-19.
  23. We’ve got other big things that we’re going to need to deal with soon.
  24. Maybe Covid-19 will be the thing that convinces us that we can do impossible things when we have to.


3 thoughts on “Twenty-four more thoughts. 3/22/20”

  1. Gorgeous as usual. I remember when Adela fell into the water, or remember hearing about it. I wish I could have some soup now. Once I was at your house and you served soup for lunch. Dean said, “I could eat soup every day of my life.” For some reason that just cracked me up. Thinking of you from across the bay.

  2. Keep writing Teresa. Obviously our ways of connecting are changing daily during this season. Your honest words are a means of connection and I really appreciate them…and you. Be well!

  3. Miso soup sounds like a tradition my young family will adopt. It sure is nice to be with somebody you love during this pandemic, and to have the long list of luxuries you laid out for us. Just as important is having words from other locals to remind us that we are not alone. Thank you.

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