The time rolls on; once again, days melt into one another. Everything is effort. The news comes to us via radio, youtube and the nytimes. I don’t think that Julia hears and comprehends much of it; however, she is quick to say that she doesn’t want to go to school and catch the virus. I tell her that I will not send her if it is not safe and at the same time, I gather information on how to send her to school and what to do when she gets home. I tell her we will listen to the teachers and the scientists, even though no one has definitive advice. Julia does not do well with gray. I fall and fail with the continuing ambiguity our time.
The chrysalis stage of a butterfly is my favorite metaphor for transformation. What a miracle that a caterpillar makes the container and turns itself into a gooey substance before transforming. Where are we in that process right now? Who is in the process now? Can we have as much trust as a caterpillar?
Trust the process. Believe in change. Lean into transformation even though we have no idea what our goo will become.
What is washing over me.
New Zealand has not had a new covid case for 100 days. I almost cannot imagine what that feels like. There are new mask wearing requirements in Wisconsin and there are demonstrations against such denial of freedom. Yesterday, Julia and I went to hike/walk at Halibut Point State Park near Rockport. We were able to walk to the quarry and the rocky beach and most, but not all people, wore masks. Sitting on a rock, I took my mask down and smelled the ocean. Julia said she preferred the lake, no fish smells. It struck me that when I took my mask down I smelled the ocean all at once, I did not smell it little by little as we approached. Not even a walk to the beach is what it once was. I wanted to walk the quaint streets of Rockport but there were too many people and I passed it by.
Because I ordered dresses for the wedding, I now receive regular emails from those companies. I look at their offerings for the fall. I don’t see much change in their sales pitch—dress for work, dress for going out, dress for special events. Who is dressing for anything apart from zoom calls? Will they begin to appeal to those of us living in a limited world? The NYTimes magazine’s lead article this week is Sweatpants Forever on the demise the fashion industry. I have never contributed to keeping the fashion industry alive, but what will take its place? What of brick and mortar stores? What of malls? Will the industry make its chrysalis and become goo?
Michelle Obama is feeling a low grade depression “because of a combination of quarantine, racial unrest and the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.” I feel much the same and I am struck that I was surprised that she admitted to those feelings. But then, she and I cannot be content with survival mode. Isn’t it time to move on from survival mode? Even in this discontent, I am not taking on any projects. Will that end at some point?
Kenya decided to scrap the entire school year and start over again. The idea can be criticized in all sorts of ways but what struck me was the out of the box thinking, at least in the initial idea. Schools here have three plans—all in, all out and some hybrid. What are we missing? What are the out of the box ideas? Schools are not the only ones missing ideas. Everyone, everywhere seems to be looking for substitutes and equivalents. No one is making institutional chrysalides, let alone trusting in the goo. Sometimes I am most scared because this is Julia’s senior year. If we have another year like last semester, she will have no other school left. And then, what? Where will she learn? Where will there be peers? I cannot get out of the box. I want what was— Substitutes or equivalents. I know nothing else.
Some email travel groups and magazines are trying to change. In the beginning of quarantine, I heard from cruise companies constantly—book for 2021 or 2022, cancel up to a week before sailing, third person in a cabin free, 20%, 30%, 40% off all fares. Those emails have for the most part stopped coming. One of my travel email groups has turned to offering online classes—some about travel, but more about places, about art, about history. Not quite goo but I respect their pivoting and exploration.
But I want to travel again. Dream of Italy, plan for China, research Zambia. Do I have to give up those old desires to turn into the goo?
Someone at church today during our virtual coffee hour, talked about how he is almost back to himself after a bout of Covid 19 plus pneumonia and sinus infections. Both he and his wife caught the virus in early March when they were in New Orleans. It was a painful week for both of them and then months of slow recovery. They didn’t have it all that bad and never spent time in the hospital. Listening to him, I had a flash that he and his wife had done something with this time. They got sick, and luckily, they recovered. I wondered if his experience was the shoe I have been waiting to drop before I can let go of expectations of getting back to normal.
What I have written is not filled with insight, it has not move me further on my own transformation, it is only doodles on the page as Sunday melts into a new week.