With the world in an even more frantic state of chaos than usual, it takes an extremely strong mind to keep calm, keep centered, and carry on. On my weekly trip to the grocery store, I see people who are going about their business almost as usual, albeit a bit more cautiously. Some are wearing masks (where did they get them?) and gloves, while some don’t bother to obey social distancing rules. But life goes on as closely as we can get to normal. That is, we’re accepting the new normal and hoping there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I think we’re mostly faking our nonchalance, though. I think many of us are more afraid than we’re letting on. The 24/7 onslaught of updates, advice from various experts, and CDC guidance broadcast on many channels is overwhelming. And not conducive to ordered thinking. I give enormous props to the tens of thousands of professionals in all capacities who are keeping us going, steadfastly doing their jobs in the face of the craziness.
I took a rare quiet moment yesterday to be quiet and sit on the front porch to eat my lunch, because the weather these last few days has been as wild as the news. The temperature was in the mid-60s—above normal for late March in northern Ohio—and the wind was howling through the trees. The porch is sheltered, though, so I was comfortable. The night before, we’d had a deluge of almost apocalyptic strength, curtains of water falling for hours, leaving small ponds in the yard of which we’d never seen the like. The relentless gale yesterday was the aftermath of the storm, signaling the arrival of another cold front. For a few moments, though, I was at peace, eating my salad, listening to the gusts, watching the evergreen tree in the yard catty-corner to ours. The tree is trimmed bare to a height of about 15 feet, allowing the house to peek through. The bottom branches were hanging vertically, swinging back and forth like fronds. Or like the lace lappets of a Victorian bonnet. The huge old tree itself barely swayed, despite the force of the wind. There were no small creatures in sight, none of the feral cats who live on our street and have been named by the people who feed them. No squirrels, either, even the one who takes walnuts from our neighbor’s hand. No birds, not surprisingly. And no cars racketing up and down, for once. I realized that the deserted streetscape was due to the weather and the Sunday afternoon timing, as well as to the stay-at-home restrictions. I relished the silence and the escape from the worries endlessly tromping through my head every day now. Rick always says that Mother Nature bats last, and I take comfort in that thought.