Pandemic in February

“I really miss travel.” Howard said. We were watching a show set in Australia where the protagonist lives on his sailboat. There were lots of long shots of ocean and countryside. We then had a conversation about the trips we would like to take, places we would go, people we’d like to see. It was a happy sad conversation. February frequently triggers wanderlust for me. This year more than ever.

Tis the season of Zoom meetings where people are trying to decide what is reasonable to expect from this year. Conference staff trying to decide whether vaccination rates will allow for an in-person event in the Fall. My family wondering if we can gather for a family reunion in June. These conversations are fraught. I doubt any of these events will be able to occur this year, and yet I know that sometimes people need to cling to the hope that by September things will be better. One person needs the be reassured that people are acting safely, another desperately needs to believe that “safe” includes seeing people in person this year. It can be hard to respectfully navigate the feelings while making choices about how to proceed.

I find myself in a strange place. I’ve found a pocket of creativity and peace inside my current restrictions. My home is a greenhouse where the people inside are growing in a sheltered environment. I’m so glad to see the growth (after years of withering and stagnation) that part of me is content to keep the greenhouse locked down tight for a while longer. Staying contained will get easier when the weather warms up enough to allow us to use the outdoor spaces that are attached to our home. At times I’m glad that all of the outside events where scraped off the schedule since we’ve grown in ways that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible.

Yet then I find myself quietly wiping away a couple of tears during a conversation about taking trips.

Just because I’m keeping my eye on what is right in front of me, doesn’t mean I don’t feel the loss of the far horizon. The loss of connections with people who are not of my household. That sense of community which comes from random small conversations. Sometimes we don’t notice what is missing in our lives until we trip over the gap, or until it comes back. My life right now is good, and I’m focused on dwelling in that good. Yet it will be lovely when the pandemic releases it’s stranglehold and more things become possible again.