Here in the Epicenter, I could bitch. And I could cry. And I do. But there’s something else going on, and I want to name it.
Back in March (long ago, in another galaxy), I got called out by an editor for using the phrase ‘silver linings’ when discussing what we might learn from our virtual schooling experiment. “You can’t say that when people are dying,” she messaged me.
Really? I kinda think a crisis like this is when those silver linings are most important.
Here are some of mine:
I love hearing birds and wind and a dog barking over on the next block, without the NYC traffic, the horns, the choppers overhead, the many voices, the street drills, the building construction. The soundtrack is peaceful (okay, absent the ambulance sirens). With the windows wide open and my eyes closed, there’s a peculiar kind of tranquility that I’ve never heard in six decades in my beloved home town.
In a funny way, I’m in better touch with my family, though I miss their offline faces keenly. We talk every day. I feel their support, and know they feel mine. In the middle of a pandemic, there’s something unconditional about it.
My apartment is comfortable and full of light, and perhaps I’m inventing this, but I could swear that just a few months ago, I was looking at my bookshelves and fantasizing out loud to the boyfriend about some catastrophe where I was stuck inside rereading all those greatest hits. And if that’s not enough, there are the abundant digital stacks at the New York Public Library that I’m getting acquainted with. (Yeah, there’s the little inconvenience of not being able to concentrate on anything but the deluge of bleak medical and political news, but hey, we’re in for awhile, and I feel the reading bug coming back.)
I haven’t bought anything in seven weeks, except groceries and some quality booze. And man does this feel good.
I’ve barely looked in the mirror, either. Released! Age does this to a gal, but social distancing frosts that cake nicely.
And then... there are the hours of unconstructed, unhurried time. It’s possible that I’ve dreamed of this every day of my adult life. My deteriorated cooking skills are returning. I’m writing this and that in my notebook--not with any goal or imperative, but just because. I slalomed my way through the crowds in Central Park on this lovely Saturday, keeping my distance, until I found my own slab of rock in a copse of trees, where I could take off my mask and do... nothing. Lining? Let’s call it a whole, shiny silver cloud.
What are your silver linings?
5/2/2020 07:33:35 pm
No commute. Time to cook and bake bread. My family lives upstairs. Quiet. Space. I feel very lucky and privileged to be able to work from home. And my neighbors are pretty cool :)
5/2/2020 07:39:48 pm
I forgot to put that I get to hear my neighbor sing to her students. That's def another lovely thing.
5/3/2020 09:45:57 am
Not sure these linings are silver, but they are lining something: I haven't talked to anybody I don't like in seven weeks. Nobody has been rude to me. I've run over three hundred miles. I've been a Sunday puzzle genius seven weeks running. I've been reminded that I know a bunch of people in all parts of the world who still know and love me. I've drunk some really good wine. I'm still alive.
5/11/2020 02:37:17 pm
Lovely writing. Thank you!
11/16/2022 01:39:21 pm
Carry evening treat.
11/16/2022 01:57:33 pm
Joseph, are you a poet or a bot? It's a little hard to tell.
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I've been blogging since 2010. When I've got writer's block in every other way (frequent), this low stakes riffing to think has been a constant. Over the digital years, I've had a half dozen or so blogs including a travel blog and a reading blog, both on Blogger, and an all-purpose blog on tumblr where I wrote about education, social equity and anything else that sparked me. I also posted some of my published print work on my website. My shit is all over the internet. I'll be using this space for the occasional blog post, now.