This is Day #15 of self isolation. I know for some of my friends around the world, it’s been much longer. On Day #1, I took a new crisp, white notebook and wrote on its cover… ‘The Coronavirus Pandemic’ 2020 March ~ .’ Completely unexpected words to have written on the cover of a journal; bewildering, sad, frightening… just surreal, I hear myself and many people say.
Each day I write a little, or a lot, depending on my state of mind, on my equilibrium which seems to change daily. As I write this morning, snow is gently falling… just when it was beginning to feel like spring. With the ski hill abruptly closed because of the virus, truly is this not redundant at this time of year? Yet there’s a gentleness, a goodness to it. This morning it feels like hope.
Hope that our healthcare workers will remain safe. Hope that people will somehow find a way to support their families and pay their bills. Hope that more and more people won’t die in isolation. Hope that this can be eradicated sooner rather than later… hope for humanity.
I glance at my early journal entries. Disappointment when events were suddenly cancelled. How very inconsequential that now seems. There are notes about the lists and planned ‘Operation Food Stocking’. Yes, as vegetarians we have enough legumes to seemingly last for years!
On Day #3, I write of my sadness that I won’t be travelling this spring as usual, heartbroken that I won’t be traipsing through my beloved Italy. How very trite that already sounds. Now we are eternally grateful that our family all happens to be safe in Canada. I worry everyday for those still stranded in other countries; I know it could have been me. I can’t imagine the distress they and their families are going through.
On Day #8, I lament of our dear town, so eerily quiet now as almost everything has closed. I notice the distance we keep as I pass someone going into the post office, yet there’s still a friendly greeting. I worry if our shopkeepers will be able to reopen. I write of the fragility of life as we know it – how dramatically it continues to change daily.
On Day #10, I join Jo’s virtual birthday party. We toast her from around the world. Performers take their turn serenading, it’s comforting to see some familiar faces. Yet it emphasises this strange new paradigm, how long will we socialise this way? A few days later, a family member joins a celebration of life for a loved one by Zoom. I have a cry with my mom on the phone. We wonder when we’ll be able to see each other?
The next day, I feel compelled to do something for posterity. It was the sixth anniversary of my notesonaboardingpass and I decide to do a video rather than write. Trixie sets it up. I read and muse for thirty minutes or so. Near the end, we toast the years properly with a glass of wine. We call it ‘a wrap’, do some editing, drink a little more and I quip, “Well, if the virus gets me, you guys will have me chatting away forever.” It comes out innocently, yet there’s a ring of truth to it. Suddenly, we all know we’re not as immortal as we hoped. At once that cliched old adage of ‘enjoy each day like it’s your last’ feels more portent than ever.
So on Day #13 we do just that… we enjoy the day like it could be our last. It’s Luke’s birthday and we decide to have a party. An Indian party in fact with food, attire, maybe some Bollywood dancing. It’s only the four of us, Matt is away working, Andrew and Ayla are in Vancouver, but we know we’re fortunate we can still see these two. They are two minutes away now, but we’ve kept it as if we’re one family in the same house.
As I swoosh down the stairs in my beloved saree – oh what a joy to wear it again! – I declare that every Saturday we’ll have a ‘Travel Replacement Cuisine Evening’. It will be an opportunity to transport us away, if just for an evening. A chance to maybe learn new recipes, to get dressed up, to break up the repetition of the weeks. It will be a time for laughter, for gratitude, for family – whether here or virtually. And like the snow gently falling, a time of hope for us all. Be safe everyone xx