Silver Linings

It’s easy to fall into fear. But I’ve learned that worry never does me any good at all. It doesn’t prevent things from happening, change things that are happening, or change what’s already happened. Worry only makes me feel bad. Which is not to say I don’t sometimes have a good cry. I do.

Here’s what I think I know: there is good to be found in any situation. Here are some good things I’m feeling during stay-n-place month we’re facing. CoronApril. Feel free to add your own!

  1. I’m working remotely. Tomorrow is day 11. I appreciate waking up at 7am and getting to work by 7:30, downstairs, with a hot cup of coffee and my dog at my feet.
  2. I am so grateful to be working at all.
  3. I’m connecting individually with students I sometimes don’t connect with. Yes, online is actually better for some. There’s some keyboard courage happening for students who don’t always reach out otherwise. A delightful surprise and discovery.
  4. I feel such pride in my profession. At a moment’s notice we took everything we offer our students on a daily basis and made it accessible from home. This sort of magic has come to be expected from us. In case you’re wondering, magic = hard work, willingness, dedication, true commitment and love.
  5. I’m home with my dog, who already thinks I can do no wrong, and his worship of me does not go unappreciated.  It’s  a win-win.
  6. I’m walking the dog and exercising every day. This is mostly because I’m not in my car an extra hour. I’m all about beachbodyondemand online — I can choose any workout, for any length of time. Yesterday it was cardio, today pilates.
  7. Two of my children are here during these weeks of lockdown. We are playing Scattergories, Connect Four, Cribbage, Yahtzee and Scrabble. We’re talking about fear and resilience, the good in people, and taking good care of your own mental health, and strategies for doing so. My oldest son has opted to stay in his apartment with one of his roommates.
  8. This is a good time to be an introvert. I never tire of quiet.
  9. I have time to write, and knit, and organize things like the pantry shelves, and the shoes. Mother Nature doesn’t know if she’s coming or going. So. Many. Shoes.
  10. I’m reading a lot of poetry. Here’s one of my current favorites.
  11.  I’m doing what I’m asked to do; I’m staying home. We’re witnessing the creation of history, and I’m glad to do my infinitesimally small part, and I find joy in finding the silver linings all around me. I encourage you to try to do the same if you can. And if you can’t, you know where to reach me. XO

Searsmont, Act II

We’ve moved, ya’ll. We’ve left the hustle and bustle of the big city of Belfast. We’ve sold our house and are looking forward anew.

We’re living in a yellow house on 5 acres out in Searsmont. We have two hammocks and a bunch of rose bushes, a big ol’ fire pit and a gardening shed in which I’ve set up a workstation for planting and futzing around. I added white lights on the ceiling and the wall so when I’m working at dusk, it looks like a sparkly shed of awesomeness, which it is. There’s a male partridge who drums his wings most mornings, trying to get a female to also move to Searsmont, apparently. So far it doesn’t seem to be working.

We’ve been here a year, settling in and slowing down. It’s what we crave these days. It’s oversimplified to say we needed some breathing time after the craziness of the years our children were in school and so busy it felt our heads were going to spin off our necks. But there it is.

Natalie is in high school now but with just the one it’s manageable to sometimes need to drive back into town two or three times a day. It’s rare anyway. Mostly, I spend a lot of time staring at trees, wandering our land and finding out where the deer live and the fox burrow. So far I’ve noticed maple, birch, oak, cedar, pine and ash trees, along with two fat rabbits who make their home on the edge of the woods, near our fire pit, who both love the carrots and celery I offer so I can watch them nibble.

Life is slower, and purposefully so. Heading down to the local brewery for trivia night is our idea of fun right now. I’ve also taken up knitting.

It’s been a full year of quiet contemplation about my life and what it means, and who I am and what I want. Twenty years of raising my three kids, by necessity, kept my attention very much outward, and I am most grateful for them. Two decades of the rollercoaster of bliss, self-doubt, laughter, dismay and pandemonium that I dreamed of, and got to experience, is the greatest joy of my life so far.

But as the years of living with our kids wind down, I’ve been surprised and excited, recently, to realize I haven’t gone off the deep end. I’ve been hibernating, not surrendering: recovering, not withering. I’m gearing up for Act II.

It isn’t written yet.


I Don’t Know. Whatever.

I haven’t wanted to write for a very long time. Nearly a year and a half. I’ve thought often about getting on this little blog platform and writing to explain that I didn’t feel like writing, and maybe try the “why” as well, but never pushed Return on that idea.

For a person who likes to write, who makes sense of her life by writing, this compulsory hibernation should have been terrible. I should have been full of anxiety, asking why on earth after getting my MFA I wasn’t busting down the doors of every publication in the country. I wasn’t. I’m not. I’ve been in a place of total trust in the process (which will make my friend Susan laugh – hi Susan.)

I’ve been very quiet in the past 18 months, observational, listening, wondering, and there may be a hundred reasons why and there might not be one at all. I felt some sort of way, and I went with it. I did this because I’m getting ever so much better at honoring what goes on in this here head and heart of mine. About which, more later.

But now…by golly, the dry spell? It seems to be over.

Why did this all happen? I don’t know. Whatever.

Moving on. Stay tuned.