Today I write the newsletter for this week with even less to say than the week before. A few weeks ago I thought I had a handle on this, and then we turned further down another road through an unknown valley. With the combined impacts of the pandemic and the passing of James’ father, we are folded much further inward, more quiet in all ways of life.
I’d like to be in a mood as bright as the new summer sunshine that is illuminating our roof deck bamboo plants. I’d like to be able to really imagine how life will be a month from now, with summer in full force. So I plan the scenario of going to aquafit again at Kitsilano Pool. (Cue the dream sequence “magic” harp sounds…) The city opens the outdoor pools, and has a restriction on the number of people who can go in at one time. I stand on a circle in line to go in, already wearing my bathing suit under my clothes. This means I avoid entirely the grotty crowded changing rooms, and I am able to go right into the water, leaving my clothes in the bag beside my towel on the pool’s edge. Aquafit gets Rocking! There are fewer of us but the chlorine in the pool means we don’t have to be afraid of virus transmission. I leave there, filled with endorphins, with my easy clothes on top of the suit and drive home, happy and soggy. Detailed plans involve a plastic garbage bag on the seat, then a towel. Will they open the pools? Will I be afraid when they do?
Last August at Kitsilano Pool
Yesterday I drove the car (yes, that was a big deal), and went to my daughter Rosie’s backyard garden for a social distance Mother’s Day. Feelings that had been deeply pushed aside rose up in new unrecognizable forms, as if part of me that had been in a coma just woke up, but was still numbly unconscious. We physically saw each other, our cells vibrated in the same directions. Iced tea and treats, with a cautious distance that was just enough. I’m so used to the feeling of fully merging with her and my granddaughters. But then, as if I were in a plexiglass cone, I felt myself “distancing” physically inside myself, remaining intact, sealed in. Tentatively sharing space. Guarded from the inside. Back in the car I realized the isolation of the pandemic had hit home. Love is there, but it is not physical. Physically and kinesthetically there will be lots to relearn when we are back out in the open again, as we return to our bodies in the company of others and lay down our plexi-shields. A new challenge: expanding our aura to include others not in our bubbles.
My little bubble includes James, and our increasingly sweet and increasingly tyrannical beagle, B. In the simple early afternoons we go together to a city park for the main walk of the day. Here’s our current park rotation:
Crab Park - ocean, lawn, walking distance from home. Our default park, it is by the working port, and has views of the North Shore.
Trout Lake - small lake, off-leash dog place, lawn and trees.
New Brighton - ocean, lawn, fenced dog park, rocky beach.
Jericho - wilder paths in the woods, lagoon. There is a sandy ocean beach - but no dogs allowed. Our Sunday morning regular.
B at home
We stay infolded, watching our balance as things gradually re-open into the field of the unknown.
This moving speech on the 75th anniversary of WWII
Personal Papers is my always-free and completely non-commercial newsletter. Please forward this to anyone you know who might like to find it in their inbox, too. If this is new to you, you can subscribe here:
And if you like this post, click the heart to give it some internet love!