The World On Fire


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Where I sit, and watch this unfold. I know; I am lucky.

Like most of the world, my life took a sharp left turn in March, 2020. I saw Covid coming, long before it locked us down. Long before it isolated us, or made us look out the window and wonder. Before we looked at others and judged whether they masked or didn’t, whether they distanced enough, or washed hands long enough, or wiped down groceries and counters and door knobs and shopping bags. I saw it before I was grieving, like millions of us are, for so many people dead, so much apathy and so many heroic efforts.

I was watching the news and for some reason (cue the woo-woo music), I took this seriously, when it was happening in China. We live in the Pacific Northwest. Just thirty minutes away, in British Columbia, is one of the largest Chinese communities in the world, outside of mainland China. It seemed inevitable, only a matter of time, that what I was seeing there, would be here. I’m not a worrier, when it comes to things like pandemics, or health things. But this was something I noticed, and worried about.

I said it to my husband daily, starting in late January. He laughed at my anxiety, when we traveled to NYC and then to FL to see his father. He poo-poo’ed my worries that we were riding subways, going to shows, and touch, touch, touching so many things, and not washing our hands enough. It wasn’t here yet, he told me, and he wasn’t sure it would come at all.

We live in the Pacific NW, an hour north of Seattle. We live an hour north of what would quickly become “Ground Zero.” In fact, as we headed to the airport in Fort Lauderdale, to return home from FL, the first case in WA was identified. This was just before several nursing home patients would die, when nurses, aids and health care workers, ignored warnings. It was an instant before it all went sideways. Right before the place where I live became the US focal point for something we all started to watch.

I have severe immune issues. There isn’t a firm diagnosis, but a cluster of medical challenges that leave me needing monthly IV infusions, to maintain energy and not get too many infections. Paper cuts are always an infection for me. That’s the small stuff; but, bigger infections and health problems are a constant issue. So, a pandemic that is highly contagious, and impacts the very systems that I am constantly working to keep strong, is something I have to take very seriously. I went into “isolation” about two weeks before our Governor asked us to, and before the whole world began to lock themselves in. I was wary. I was watchful. I wasn’t paranoid, but I took this seriously from the start.

But, none of us could see what was really coming. The daily death counts. The horror of watching factions fight over whether this was real or not, as people die. The watching and wondering, where will this all go. Watching Italy implode, and fight so heart-breakingly to combat Covid-19. Singing out their windows and holding on to their commitment to community. We watched them, and their beautifully heroic efforts, their hope… and then the focus switched to NYC, where my son and many friends live.

 

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Sometimes the message gets lost: it’s not about me, it’s about we.

I have thought so many times: how many of us remember where we were when this all changed. Do you remember that last day, before your life changed? Has your life changed? Mine has. I’ve been home. I’ve been on my own, since March 9th. I go hiking. A lot. I hike with one, sometimes two friends. I didn’t go to a grocery store for 14 weeks. My husband went. It was hilarious! It would take two hours for him to do what I did in thirty minutes. In the first few weeks, I called him once, to see what was taking so long. He said: “this isn’t easy, you know! It takes a while to find everything––and it changes all the time!” Um, no, I haven’t done that for thirty years… with kids. I had to laugh, even as I managed my own anxiety at not doing something that’s such a normal part of my life. It was good to laugh.

Eventually, I cried. I bottled it up for weeks, that rolled into months, and then it all came down one day, and I really began to see that this thing––this Covid thing––is not going away soon. For people like me, and so many others, this will continue. We will worry about spending time with the wrong person. We’ll worry about people who cough near us, or lean in to say something. We’ll have to avoid hugging people we love, because we don’t know if they’ve been distancing, too.

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A few months ago… when humor was easier.

I’m eating too much. I’m drinking too much. Ice-cream and wine, became my vices early on––two things I’ve never been addicted to. I drank every single night for three months. I added ice-cream, and fell down a whole with Haagen Dazs’ Whiskey Hazelnut Latte is my poison. Even my ice-cream is boozy. I’m not really a drinker, so this was really something new, something potentially concerning, coming from a family where alcohol has been a problem. But I’m not alone. All you have to do is take a walk on recycling day, to see that a lot of people are drinking more. I’m not alone in my tub of ice cream either; studies have shown that ice-cream sales are up, deodorant sales are down. I’m ahead of the curve on that one; I smell good.

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I have no shame.

I’m giving myself credit for the positive things that have come from this. I’m reading more (watch for book reviews); I’m hiking a lot; I’m socially connecting, while physically distancing; I’m giving myself permission to cry when I need to, and snap once in a while. There are plenty of gifts, they’re just wrapped differently. Summer makes outside dining possible––and walks with friends, and gathering at a distance for drinks––I can exhale a little. I live in an incredibly beautiful place, and this time of year, that is a luxury. It’s rarely too hot, or too cold. The ocean and the mountains sparkle in the sun. I can venture out of isolation a little. I can get stronger, hiking and walking and pushing myself. I can connect with friends, without masks, because we are outside and sitting eight feet apart. I get to enjoy weekly deliveries of fresh produce and fresh flowers, from our local farm. It’s a burst of sunshine each week. I’m looking for creative ways to see my sister and brother, and other family, so we aren’t as isolated as we might be. I’m grateful for the connections I have and make and nurture. I’m pushing myself to write… to start putting this down. I’m late, but there’s a lot to say.

I’m grieving. We’re all grieving. Even if you don’t believe this is real, and that masks don’t work (you’re wrong), then you’re still grieving the fact that none of us can enjoy eating out, the way we did five moths ago. We can’t go to sporting events, or back to school, or out to bars and clubs. Regardless of what you believe in, our lives have changed completely.

And this post hasn’t even touched on the Black Lives Matter explosion, that happened just as we’re all collectively grieving, and raging, and isolating. It’s been a long time coming, and has to happen. Black lives should always matter, it’s time we all unite in this. But in the face of all of this other collective grief and isolation, we have zeroed in on it, in a way that is long, long, overdue. But that’s another post; it has to be. It’s too important to lump into my self-indulgent vent about isolation and anxiety. This thing that has the world by the neck.

The whole world is on fire, but like the forests where I live after a fire, we will all come out on the other side, ready to see new growth and most importantly… change.

How are you coping? What makes you smile right now? What do you really  miss? Share your thoughts in the comment section; let’s share some dialogue.

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KAPOW! Have you stopped by Tales From the Motherland Facebook page to spread some fairy dust? I’m grateful for each Like. Follow me on Twitter, LeBron James does (for real… well, he did. But he may have dropped me recently)! Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. Honest, constructive feedback is always appreciated. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, no spam.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
Aside | This entry was posted in Awareness, Blogging, Connections, Courage, Covid-19, Gratitude, Honest observations on many things, Life, Musings, My world, Tales From the Motherland, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to The World On Fire

  1. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Amen, sister. I’m glad to know you’ve been staying safe. Hugs from Colorado!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. veronicad1 says:

    Sooooo glad to be one of your hiking and drinking buddies! We will get through this together – with hiking and laughter! XO

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Psychobabble says:

    I relate to just about all of that. Uuuggghhhhhh. You’re not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lisakwinkler says:

    Powerful post. We’re in this together but the divisiness in the nation is so troubling. Vote. vote. vote.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel for everyone who lives with health challenges that make it so dangerous in this time. With my own process of extreme inner change going on for almost 3 1/2 years now, I’ve been in my own version of lockdown for quite a while. Cocooning myself as much as possible, while taking care of absolutely essential responsibilities as I can. Been a zombie. The good thing about it is not being afraid of the virus. Fear has been unwinding in me. That said, I only going out when necessary, wear a mask and wash my hands well. My weight, which was headed in a very good direction back in 2016 has ballooned back up. It will come back down again… one day.

    You’ve captured the sentiment of so many during this crazy time of big discomfort and hopefully meaningful change. Love your comment about your husband grocery shopping! And he’s not doing it with young kids in tow! My son was a nightmare to have to bring shopping when he was little. An absolute nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. noahezra says:

    I didn’t know or forgot about your immune issues. That surely has added an extra layer of terror. I have been coping by eating too, but that predates the pandemic. COVID has ushered ice cream back into the freezer though. Every day I try to do something positive. We became emergency foster parents for a 16 year old whose mother died suddenly 2 months ago. He’s been with us for about three weeks. Every night when he plays his music or video games too loudly I feel happiness that I have seldom felt. Right now I am trying to help my husband’s website become ad supported because I had to quit my job and his editing gigs have dried up. We have taken advantage of every opportunity to forbear, defer, and postpone and we are making it. A friend dropped by 20 pounds of potatoes and 10 pounds of onions and I am tasked with finding a way to freeze uncooked hash brown kits to make good use of them. Things are going to work out. They always have before. I miss my friends and fear my teenagers because I can’t lock them up so they won’t get infected. Drink some wine for me my friend and I will eat some ice cream for you. Thanks for another wonderful insight on the insane world of today. Love, s

    Liked by 1 person

    • The financial impact of all of this is enormous, Sarah! I feel like I should have started blogging again, the minute it all started, but like the last election, I’ve been shell-shocked since March. I think it’s really important that we document and witness what this all looks like. There’s so much tech material out there, but words––words!––really help bear witness to the vastness of all these issues. Extra potatoes and onions, that is such a personal layer, but one that so many people are struggling with.

      I am so inspired and amazed that you opened your door to a stranger (or a friend?), a child, who needed shelter. I love that his normal teen behavior brings you joy; it’s a beautiful thing! You are such good people. I hope we can all support each other on line, when not in person. It means so much to me, to hear from blogging friends; to get and give support. Stay well, S ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  7. HonieBriggs says:

    Once again, Dawn, we’re on the same page. As so many of your posts, this one resonates. Raw. Real. Coping in our house also includes cocktails and large quantities of ice cream. We make good use of technology to stay connected with family that we probably won’t see again for far too long, if at all. Local media reported earlier this year that city leaders of the town where we live had decided to allow restaurants to open before the initial lock down was lifted. Remarks of some readers declared they hoped that everyone in the town where I live contracted the virus AND that we should be denied medical treatment. Ridiculous, of course, but disturbing on many levels. We, and our neighbors, had no control over that decision. Best to you! Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stephanie, what a treat! I feel like I’m writing into a void right now… I’ve let this blog drift and sink. But beyond my NEED to put down words, it’s always been the people I met and connected with, that made this such a joy. Finding your comment (that I’m late in getting to), has made my day!
      I hear you… it is so beyond me (and Mike, here in comments) how anyone can question the devastation we’re all dealing with. And yet, I know people who debate strategies and poo poo distancing. I have been alone for months, aside for hikes that keep me sane, and too few social gatherings. As fall approaches, I know I’ll be inside a lot more, and isolation will be even harder. It’s daunting.
      So glad to know that wonderful people like my old posse––you, Melissa, Sarah, Mike, Sue, Cathy, Lisa, and Veronica and others, are out there floating with me. Stay well, Honie. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mike Lince says:

    Like you, I have gained weight. I stopped going to the gym. My wife and I shop with masks (now required everywhere), and latex gloves. Nonetheless, I feel blessed to have a safe place in a quiet neighborhood to live peacefully.

    I continue to volunteer as a math tutor at my local middle school. I am worried for the students, faculty and staff. I don’t know how these young people are going to get their education. I don’t know if I belong in the schools anymore. Even if I am welcome to return, I am in the vulnerable age demographic which dictates that it might be a bad idea.

    Me and my family are fine. I don’t know if that holds true for the young, and that saddens me. What saddens me more is the rising death toll that dwarf the body counts from the Vietnam War and 9/11 combined, and that people are still apathetic! 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Mike… yes, yes, and yes! Such powerful observations, and at the heart of what we are all dealing with, for those of us who see this for the tragedy I believe it is.
      I hear you about tutoring. I am not allowed at Hospice right now, and miss my work there so much, but understand the risks. With my high school tutoring, it’s worked being outside all summer, but “winter is coming,” and too struggle with with is the best way to address this situation.
      Stay safe friend, do the good work and good deeds that are an integral part of who you both are. Thanks so much for stopping by. While I’ve dragged myself out of a rut, I am always happy to see familiar faces and reconnect. ♥

      Like

  9. Valery says:

    You put it on paper (er, keyboard) so accurately. This is overwhelming, and yet we are forced to deal with it. A pandemic. Should be science fiction, not part of our daily lives.
    So, so glad that you are OK. 143❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: How To Escape the Void | Honie Briggs

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