by Judy Avery

I sit at home, alone except for the dog and cat, and ponder the suggestion raised in St. Clare’s email posting: “We are encouraging members to contribute a reflection to be shared in our newsletter and on our website…” on how life is going during the pandemic.   I’ve read Katie’s piece on her life as a nurse and the lives of other medical personnel, and I have deep gratitude for the work they and other essential workers are providing.  She reminds me also of the lives of those who are suffering from the virus, either as a person who has contracted it or as their family and loved ones.

My own experience is quite different.  I’m well aware that there is a pandemic going on, both from reading about it and from the changes to my life that have come from the lockdown.  I am totally in support of the closing down of public places and of the injunction to stay apart from other people.  It is the only way we can bring an end to this life-taking pandemic.  As an older retired person who lives alone this means basically being by myself at home almost all the time.  It’s the sort of thing that could drive a person crazy.

I haven’t gone crazy though, and I give a lot of credit to the internet.  I spend a lot of my time with my laptop in my lap, connecting with the world outside my house.   St. Clare’s is one of the important places I connect with.  I’m so happy we have Zoom.  I can go to Sunday services with all those people I know and love, as well as to the Saturday class and my cell group and writing group.

At the same time, it’s not like being physically together. In general, my physical face to face is at more than six feet from neighbors while I’m walking my dog or a brief masked interaction with someone I don’t know when picking up food.  

My one exception to that is another gift from being part of St. Clare’s.  By some stroke of luck, fellow St. Clarian Bill Feiser lives near me and we both live near to County Farm Park.  Bill lives alone as well, now that wife Jill is in a care facility, a place where during this pandemic he’s not allowed to visit her.  Several times a week we take a walk together in the Park.  And by another bit of luck this thing has struck when walking in the park is best, as leaves and flowers make their spring emergence. 

One day we happened to run into St. Clarian Janet Shane as she returned from her park walk, and she alerted us to the newly flowering Trilliums in a section we wouldn’t otherwise have walked in.  They are amazing, spread out over a large portion of forest.  Bill has studied them in detail, as he does the other plants and trees, especially those beginning to bloom.  I had previously never known that at heart he’s a botanist, and this time of year is perfect for botany studies.  These walks we have been taking have been a very important part of my coping with this lockdown as the virus does its work.

We’ll make it through this, and we’ll do it together even while apart.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay