Watch this video to get a sense of how it feels to be teaching full time and in person during a pandemic.
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Yesterday, April 8, would have been my mother’s 82nd birthday. I tried to use her old sewing machine to sew a face mask so I can comply with the CDC when next I venture out.
Designing the mask was fun. I took an old bra and cut it in half, found a soft fleece zebra print, cut it, and pinned it. Then I turned Mom’s machine on and tried to sew.
It didn’t go so well. Just as quickly as I started sewing, I needed a new bobbin. I grabbed another one and tried to set it up so I could keep working but the bobbin wouldn’t thread right and the needle got stuck. My throat suddenly tightened and I welled up. I fought tears, left the room, bent over with my head in my hands and sobbed.
I cried because the now empty bobbin was a direct connection to Mom. The thread on a bobbin she had wound when alive was used up. Gone. I cried because I couldn’t call her to ask for help. I cried because I had to make a mask in the first place. I cried for every person who has died in this pandemic. Every person suffering with loss. I cried for New York City. For Italy and Spain. For China. For Seattle. For every place affected and every person struggling to breathe. Every person working on the front lines. I cried for my children. The world I had brought them into. I cried for having guilt for wanting to have children in the first place. With my hands covering my eyes, I cried.
Finally I finished crying. I washed my face and I found the sewing machine directions so I could figure out how to thread it. I tried to set everything up again.. and again, I failed.
Again, I thought of Mom and how she had been in the middle of using that other bobbin before it ran out and a wave of fear rushed over me and I took a deep breath to calm myself.
Why am I scared? I wondered. It’s just a sewing machine, I reminded myself.
I tried to label my fear.
I used to think it was floods. Hurricanes or tropical storms like Irene
Now I know I am actually not afraid of storms or raging water, but rather the possibility of drowning.
I am really trying to say I fear being left alone to drown.
It really means I fear death. Not being here with my family anymore. Not being able to hear birds sing or see snowflakes fall or touching velvet or smelling garlic sautéing in a pan or tasting a meal made with said garlic.
But the real truth is, I’m scared of how this virus has blown apart the world and changed all the rules. Making us distance ourselves socially and making us hide behind masks and use screens to connect, which has made us more alone than ever before.
All while I’m waiting for an invisible wave to come so it can crash over me or I can ride it out so I can take another breath.
I got the mask stuck in the machine. Sensing my frustration and overall mood, my husband showed up just in time to cut the fabric free and our beautiful daughter (who turns 15 today) took the mask. She knew I couldn’t complete it on my own so she took it into her bedroom and used my old machine to finish it. In fact, she scrapped my design and made a better one with a notch for my nose.
I guess I don’t have to feel alone with this pain.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Based on the smell in the air last night, I knew snow would sneak in while I slept.
An incoming storm smells damp and cold and shiny and assertive. Like silver.
But on a day like this, when it arrives and piles upon itself and becomes more than just a few flakes, it isn’t silver after all. It is an entity soon to become a memory, and will blend with all others to become a “Snow Day” already over before it has truly begun.
I hear the silence of it before I open my eyes. I hear no leaves dancing, I hear no dogs barking, I hear no cars commuting up the mountain road. I hear none of my neighbors stirring.
Then, out of the darkness of my head, the plow scrapes by. I taste the coffee still on the breath of the man pushing powder and ice out of the road. This wakes me. I open my eyes and push the blind aside to see that everything on the park seems dusted with pale blue. A watered down periwinkle.
The phone rings and I feel it in my chest as a robot-like voice says something about “inclement weather” and “school is closed.” A gratitude for extra time in my home makes my toes wiggle.
I feel a chill as my teeth hurt. I process thoughts about how millions of frigid water droplets have formed to make a day for us to escape the real world. Snow tastes like all demands are cancelled. A pause button on the day.
But there will be a make-up day for this “Snow Day.” And it will be added on at the end of the school year after dandelions have pushed through green grass and gone to seed.
scarf has been packed away in the attic.
Snow days sound like comfort: A tea kettle whistling, furnace kicking on, plow trucks
scraping by every hour on the hour. I swallow a pleasant gratitude for their efforts.
Between these I am wrapped in silence as deep as this storm itself.
It could be months before it melts. I scrape up every aspect and slip it into my soul’s pocket.
My toes love how a warm blanket tastes when it rests on my feet and my feet rest on the chair. I hear complete gratitude (it is the silence of snowflakes) and I crawl inside my writing.
Sunday, September 3, 2017
I will use the metaphor of my upstairs bathroom to explain how I am a submerging writer because my writing brings me joy and stress and so does that amazing yet ridiculous room. Since we bought our Victorian home, I have wanted install an antique cast iron tub because I felt like the house would be perfect with it. I pictured myself resting my neck against the rim while staring at a candle across the room, the bubbles and warm water soothing my tired muscles.
And there was a drippy faucet and a slow leak into the dining room below, which is how I convinced my husband that we should rip the old bathroom apart to begin with.
New tiling by the toilet.
I am proud to call myself a submerging writer.
Monday, July 31, 2017
- A 48 star flag
- Pink China from the 1930’s, new in the box
- A stack of Vermont Life magazines from as early as the 1950’s
- A Kewpie doll
- An original Maxfield Parrish print
- Ice skates that fit
- Dresses that fit
- A photo of Lt. Cobb from the Civil War (I still don’t know who he is, but he is displayed)
- And so on (you get the idea)
Sunday, July 9, 2017
- An affirmative vote is negative to Article 13 so that means we are not moving forward with the plan if we affirm it.
- Dissolving Plan B dissolves the plan to merge with Bethel which would have been temporary anyway and is not the best solution.
- We will all have to go back to the drawing board.
- We are running out of time.
My Resolution Watch this video to get a sense of how it feels to be teaching full time and in person during a pandemic.
Yesterday, April 8, would have been my mother’s 82nd birthday. I tried to use her old sewing machine to sew a face mask so I can comply with...
The world we knew just a few weeks ago, a week ago, a few days ago, even last night, will never be the same. None of us will ever be the ...