Every day blends into every other day.
It is Monday. I have pilates. I go upstairs to the room that has space for the yoga mat, but I forget my computer. The dog has stolen one of my shoes. I can’t find the email from the instructor with the Zoom link. I am late. Two days later I have pilates again. It is as if I never left the room.
It is raining. It is sunny. It is windy. The power goes out. It takes a full day to be fixed. It is sunny again. We get out the big umbrellas for the yard.
A crew arrives to cut down the trees that are expected to interfere with the power lines in future storms. They don’t wear masks and they leave trash on the road.
I hear reggae coming up from the Tennis Party house. There is that dog that’s escaped and is in our yard again.
My neighbors are gone. They are still in Florida for the winter. My neighbors are back. I can hear their children playing in their yard.
It is yesterday.
It is tomorrow.
It is today.
How far are we from the end?
It is Saturday. It is quieter in Bedhead Hills than it ever was before.
An airplane passes overhead and I come out from under the umbrella to see it. It is above the cloud cover. There are no planes. Planes are from before. No one flies now.
I hear the traffic on the big highway to the city. It is not empty but it is emptier.
I hear the frogs at dusk. I hear the red-winged blackbirds in the afternoon.
It is Tuesday. I hear compressors at the neighbors. The landscapers prepare the neighbor’s yard for their return, blowing things for what seems from this side of the fence like a whole working day.
People race their cars on the freeway, revving engines screaming, ripping open the air. I hear the silence settle like dust.
It is Sunday. I am having a tearful meltdown because it is raining and I have to choose between a coat that fits with a zipper I can’t zip and a coat that zips but is too tight and has no interior pocket for my phone. The dogs are waiting, Fellow is watching outdoors and Eggi looking at me with concern. It takes me so long to get ready to go, Captain changes his mind and wants to come. We get very wet, and very muddy, but the road is empty of walkers and no bicyclists who ride up behind me and mutter “on your right,” startling me out of their way just in time.
It is Friday. I am reading the feedback that my last blog post was too lighthearted.
People tell me people are dying. I know people are dying. Four days from now there will be a million known cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., and the next day there will be almost 60,000 dead Americans.
There is dog poo on the road. I arrange the tree workers’ trash next to it. Still Life, with shit.
In the beginning, in mid-March, I wave to the neighbors. I greet other walkers. I smile at people who compliment my dogs. In March, I see another dog walker once a week. Now it is April, I see multiple walkers every day. I want to be welcoming. I want to be proud and pleased that where I live is so nice other people come.
But they aren’t wearing masks. They barely move out of reach of my dogs.
Eggi barks at the car parked where there was no car before. I find a pair of discarded blue nitrile gloves on the road: things worse than dog shit.
Two nights ago I dreamed I started having symptoms. I had the cough. My lungs felt like they were filled with shards of glass. My stomach rumbled. I sweated with fevers. I dreamed I went up to the sewing room to be alone. I slept for hours and days and weeks in the dream and when I came back downstairs, the windows were open and there were dried leaves blowing around. My house was empty; everyone had gone. Even the cat.
The goldfinches came back in a riot of the best yellow.
The woodpeckers are vigorously courting.
The swamp down the hill is alive with a mob of blackbirds.
There is a pair of cardinals. Affronted, they chase the dogs and me out of the woods. I reach my hand into a blue New York Times bag and use it as a glove to open the mailbox. The mail is weird coupons and two different issues of the New Yorker at once. There is a pair of peeved blue jays in the bushes by the mailbox. They scold us as we walk down the driveway.
Three mourning doves scatter when I unleash the dogs. I know three people who have died so far.
I have more birdseed delivered. I include a special thing just for the woodpeckers.
The ground beneath the feeders is spongy, full of birdshit and empty shells.
The dentist texts me to postpone my upcoming appointment. Indefinitely.
Someone runs over the trash I so carefully arranged on the road and now it is in my woods.
It is Wednesday. I email the grocery store a list. I hear nothing back for hours. I panic and re-send. I get an auto-reply, saying I can only email a list between 9 am and noon. Then I get a phone call saying my order is ready to pick up. Then I get another email saying my order was filled. I reply saying thank you. Thanks a million.
I leave the mail on the floor and throw away the bag even though I could re-use it.
In a burst of enthusiasm a few yesterdays ago I pull out all the weeds and rake and ready our planting beds for vegetables.
The asparagus is coming up and we will harvest some soon.
It is two years ago and I am planting asparagus. I am promising that when it is established we will get to eat it. I am saying it will take a couple of years.
A message comes through on the group text with the barn friends. It’s a parody song about the president. What is funny anymore. Are we there yet.
An email. Dear Valued Customer, in these trying times. It is almost May.