Getting away in the spring is always a nice break from the hectic pace of life. In the past, our spring get-aways have included Galiano Island, BC, Canada; Orcas Island, WA; Yosemite National Park and wine tasting in Sonoma County, CA. This spring we had planned to go to Eastern Washington to visit wineries and one of our favorite restaurants, Wine O’Clock, located in Prosser. However, due to sheltering in place, our travel plans have come to a screeching halt.
We had also planned on moving to France in July. My husband is retired, and I was scheduled to retire this summer. We went to France in March, found a fantastic, 230 year old house to rent in Normandie, met the landlord and neighbors, we even had a copy of our rental agreement. We left France flying high and so excited about our future. We breezed through customs and immigration at JFK on March 12th, then the next day, the travel ban went into effect and just overnight, everything changed.
All this is pretty much inconsequential compared to the devastation caused by COVID-19. My heart aches for the thousands of people who have lost friends and loved ones, for those who have lost their jobs, for small business owners who are struggling to stay afloat, and for our healthcare workers who are on the front lines and struggling to treat patients when medical supplies and medications are in short supply. It’s like we’re running away from a huge wave, waiting for it to crash and pull away, to see what is left behind. I can’t imagine what life will be like once the wave has pulled back into the ocean.
On the positive side, the planet is getting healthier. My daughter called me a few weeks ago to share that the canals in Venice have cleared and the fish have returned, and that in Hong Kong, the sky is clear for the first time in decades. Pollution has decreased, which if sustained, will result in less incidence of asthma, cancer, emphysema and other diseases caused by a sick planet.
We are Skyping and “Zooming” with family and friends more than ever. We enjoy a weekly happy hour Skype date with our dear friends in Portland, and we have a standing Zoom call with family in Oregon and California on Sundays. My husband read a story to our little niece and nephew over Skype, and our niece sent us this:
Our dear friends and neighbors have kept us stocked in jigsaw puzzles. We were working on one and listening to All Things Considered on NPR recently when one of the headlines mentioned the increase in the demand for jigsaw puzzles. These same friends dropped off a lovely gift bag with some delicious goodies.
What will life be like when the pandemic is finally over and we emerge, bleary eyed from our homes and venture out into the world again? I hope we will show a little more compassion, and remember to stay connected with family and loved ones. I hope we will work together to keep the planet healthy, and I hope our healthcare workers will be honored for the sacrifices they have made during this surreal time.
How are you holding up right now? I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment and share what you are doing while sheltering in place.
Stay home, stay healthy and save lives.