It’s the time of year I love the most*. This morning I looked out my office window and the sun was shining juuust right on the magnolia tree and forsythia bush across the street, and I felt…
Well. Back in my early days I’d have felt overflowing, like a cup fuller than full, in the good way. I’m slowly getting back to that emotion, but now it’s simply a wee swell in the heart, an ease in the lungs, a sense of both return and newness.
It’s a BIG conflict when compared to the sorrow and devastation this global illness has wrought, and it changes how I respond to the feeling. My immediate inclination, almost a compulsion, is to go outside and bury my face in the flowers like I’m a nectar-hunter. I can’t, though, because I’m still within the “might be a carrier” zone. So I’m staying in. No biggie, right? But when you’re contemplating your mortality, these things loom larger. I’m glad we’ve got a lilac bush really close to the front door; it’s not due to bloom for another week but if the CDC/WHO determine people can be carriers for longer than 21 days, I’d be in agony. It would be a hell of a struggle for me to not huff a lilac when there was one within walking distance. While I was in Texas, I missed lilacs more than I ever expected.
In the meantime, I feel simultaneously lucky and helpless. We’re doing reasonably well in this crisis but others I know and love are not. My stepfather has a health crisis unrelated to the virus wracking the world right now, and I think of him hourly – alongside everything else. And I think of my mother, who can’t go visit him. Alongside everything else.
And there’s nothing I can do for anyone except stay home.
I understand why people break quarantine. I’m not sympathetic, but I understand. We’re not used to accepting helplessness. We’re always told we can do something, we can change it, we can fix it, if only we did x or y or z.
I think it’s time to revisit what helplessness means. Because gods know, as individuals we’re helpless to stop the spring from coming. So I’m practicing imagining the discomfort of helplessness as a bud, enclosed in the chill of the wind…
about to turn into a flower, if it can just. hold. on.
* …allergies notwithstanding.