I haven’t been writing on my blog this past 6 weeks; and I’ve been writing on my book–a memoir that at this point is entitled A Long Walk Home: One Woman’s Life as Pilgrimage. I started writing on it a little casually but then heard that my niece was going to take part in the annual NaNoWriMo challenge–writing a draft of 50,000 words during the month of November. Two other members of my writing group joined in and we are now midway in the challenge. In fact, I already have over 50,000 words because I had drafts of prior pilgrimages already started. I even just found an editor. My goal now is to write two hours a day in editing out words and writing in the transitions from one piece to another.
It has been a perfect way to spend this month as it seems we need to hunker down again with COVID cases surging. My husband and I had dinner with someone who got positive test results 5 days later, so we have been seeing a lot of mostly each other now for 12 days–with no symptoms. Yesterday we received our negative test results. But it’s starting to feel like we can’t dodge this bullet forever as now I know several people closer to me that have tested positive. It seems the circle is tightening. Part of me just wants to get the virus (but not get sick). Another part is staying vigilant for myself and for others.
We are negotiating Thanksgiving; my grandson was in a classroom with two first graders who tested positive so that part of our family won’t be able to join us. We will just have a friend and our son for dinner, both of whom have been isolating. Strange times; maybe the only other time I have had such a small Thanksgiving gathering was when my friend Julie and I were in Florence, Italy at age 23. Of course there was no turkey and dressing. We had something with pasta I’m sure. This pandemic has re-organized us externally and internally. We are in the doldrums of it now; it’s more serious now in Alaska than ever and yet it’s apparent that is because many are just tired of being isolated and careful and strategizing and planning and fearful. I get it. I want to see my mother at her nursing home in Iowa. I want to have Christmas parties and gatherings. I want to just go to the store without apprehension.
And I find myself grateful–grateful for scientists who can discover a vaccine; I marvel at their intelligence and diligence in pursuing a solution to this pandemic. I try to imagine how their brains work so differently from mine! I’m grateful for those nurses and technicians that stand out in the cold, going from car to car in 1 degree weather, swabbing noses and being cheerful. I’m grateful I have a warm home and just celebrating 41 years of marriage with Steve. Thankful I can still ski and hike and FaceTime with the grandkids. I live in a time when the news predicts soon there may be commercial flights to the space station and we know there could be water on Mars. I live with the knowledge that “this too shall pass.” And that if I just look out the window, I have the choice to be amazed.
Happy Thanksgiving in whatever way you celebrate this unusual year. May it be unusually perfect.
(I see this piece needs some editing, but sorry, back to the book!)