News from Home

I’m Busy Being on High Alert

This is a very long confined car ride. Are we there yet? Hardly. Destination unknown. I think we are now closed in tighter than before. In my daily life, things aren’t that different, except for the dread. And the rollercoaster of feelings through the day - up and okay, down and not okay, a bit of a twinge in the pit of the stomach. Every week it gets tighter, a bit more solemn and serious. Now the shockwaves of isolation are slamming a little harder - not yet full strength but as much as we can take - incremental hits that aggregate daily. Doing this newsletter gives me a clear review of the changes one week can bring.

I was surprised to feel comforted by the sounds of cars and trucks outside on Friday, a brief reminder of what used to be normal. Now it’s back to the eerie silence.

They say don’t go outside unless you absolutely have to. I’m okay with that today. I’m not resisting the idea at all. It’s time to settle in. What is here and simple is enough. I don’t want to be doing more than necessary. I’m exhausted just thinking about all the online courses, recommended books, movies and series. I don’t seem to have time to listen to the free whatever, or do all the crafts that everyone seems to be endlessly recommending. Life, strangely, is full, more full than ever.

In a weird glitch, time has warped and shifted. I seem to be busy all day - doing what? Even though I’ve controlled my ‘doomscrolling’ - minimized it at any rate - I suppose I’m just busy being on high alert.

Coming soon: profound tenderness

Has it hit you yet? Today I felt a little less frozen, so had a few tears, aware that this is all very sad and scary and heartbreaking. That was my clue - I’m preparing to welcome the approach of profound tenderness, to replace the armoured vigilance with sensitivity.

The return and retrieval of Dressing for Dinner.

I’m thinking that if we are all at home we can turn our daily lives into meaningful rituals. So going from routine to ritual, we can deepen the experience of the evening meal. Dress for dinner, make it into something special. Put on pants. Or makeup. Or a hat, perhaps. Make the dinner thematic, with colour, or a centrepiece - you know what I’m getting at. Have a little fun with it. Once a week, bring out the fascinators, put on that special jacket, sit up at the table, and turn dinner into theatre, into ritual, into an art. I don’t mean the meal - it can be Kraft Dinner (or Annie’s), for that matter. I’m talking about our relationship to the nightly ritual of the meal. And give thanks in that way. Plus have a little fun. I know some of you already do this, or something like this. Maybe I’m the last to pick up!

The Journal Club

So many of us are writing and journalling into the night, I thought it would be fun to set up an email Journal Club. Most of you may have something to say, but don’t want to bother with setting up a whole newsletter with the commitment that entails. So I imagined this Journal Club and I’m mulling it over. If 3 or 4 of you want to do it, I will go ahead and set it up. Reply to this email and I’ll make it happen.

E.A. Colebrook, my grandfather, supported the family with quality English goods throughout the depression. Mum and her brother and sisters never went without. Four meals (including tea) every day in their house in Canmore in the mountains.

As we all sail forth further into the unknowing, my plan for the week is to read more Italo Calvino. I’ve begun with his Six Memos for the Next Millennium, written in 1985, with the chapters Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, and Multiplicity. His sense of the power and intelligence of literature through the ages is truly inspiring, and I want to be inspired right now.

I’ll pick and choose from this amazing selection and report back to you next week.

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