The new normal
Well. It’s March 28, 2020, and today roaming seems to be a very, very distant dream. The current unreal reality has settled in like an unwelcome guest whose plans to leave are not being mentioned. Our county, like so many places across the planet, has issued a mandatory shelter at home order with exceptions only for necessary errands like getting food and medicine. We are, however, allowed to exercise outdoors, as long as we maintain social distancing.
Phil and I are so very lucky. We have a comfortable home with a fenced-in backyard that houses Phil’s art studio. I still have my well paid work-from-home job and have enjoyed the break from constant travel. Our family and most of our friends are so far safe and healthy. And we live in a sparsely populated area where we can easily go out for walks without coming close to anyone. We’re worried, but not fearful. I fully acknowledge my privilege and am grateful for our situation.
So while our dreams of roaming are on hold, because neither of us has an appetite for travel planning right now, we are trying to embrace this new normal. A reluctant adopter, I’ve learned to enjoy video meetings. On most days Phil goes for long walks with our neighbor, on opposite sides of the street. I’ve been taking Michelle Obama on my walks this week, listening to Becoming. The bluebonnets are in full, glorious bloom, and recent rains have made everything gloriously green. Yesterday I rescued a tortoise from the middle of the road; today I rescued the same tortoise from a driveway about a quarter of a mile away. On our walk together, Phil and I watched a dung beetle roll its globe of poop along, and when we got home, curious about its behavior, I googled it to learn that dung beetles were considered deities by the ancient Egyptians. We ordered sourdough starter and have begun making artisan bread, and this morning Phil delivered a loaf to our neighbors’ porch. And I’ve continued with my Babbel French lessons, even though our July trip to France is almost certain to be cancelled.
Like everyone else, we’re doing our best to maintain a sense of normalcy, and so far we’re succeeding. I can’t fathom the ways this pandemic will change the world, but my hope is that people will feel more connected to one another, that kindness and compassion will overrule division and judgement, and that containment and bending the curve will prevail. And that sometime soon, roaming will once again be possible.