Sunday, March 14, 2021

Slowly, we emerge

They move into their own space, start socializing more regularly with their peers, and quickly develop their own signature style. Our niece, no longer stuck indoors with her old aunt and uncle, is living her best life in her new apartment in Brooklyn. I adore these photos of her. She looks hipster and joyful. Her mom texted me from Orlando yesterday to say that Thanksgiving is looking good for us to gather this year, because she and her husband had just gotten their one-dose vaccine, and their older daughter who lives with them would get hers sometime in May. 

Everything is opening up now. Last Thursday, when temperatures climbed into the high sixties, I sat in the courtyard at the picnic table in front of our building and worked on my proposal. As my neighbors came and went, everyone masked, they stopped to chat, as it's been so long since we've all seen each other, what with covid lock downs and the walkways of complex where I live having been under construction all year. But now the courtyard in front of my building is partially reopened, with pristine new surfaces and brand new benches on which many neighbors sat with their masks on and faces turned to the sun. It felt wonderfully communal, and very conducive to working, the intermittent conversational distractions socially nourishing. Almost everyone reported having already gotten vaccinated with at least the first dose, or having imminent appointments to do so.

There was some sad news, an upstairs neighbor whose wife got the virus and brought it home. She recovered, he did not, and he passed away last week. The only grace is that because she had already had covid, his wife was allowed to be with him in the hospital at the end. Such a lovely, warm couple, both with iron gray hair and a marriage of decades. He rode a motorcycle, and always looked rock and roll cool with his helmet and black leather, while her style was Earth shoes and Woodstock, no makeup or jewelry or anything fussy. If you didn't know, you might not have put them together, but they were clearly simpatico and very in love. And now she is alone. I wonder how many more such stories we will learn as we all slowly emerge from our homes.

On my proposal, I'm done with the overview and sample chapter and am now halfway through the chapter summaries. My cousin Helen, who is a gifted life coach, held a free online "Refuel" workshop a week ago, and my daughter tuned in from Boston and I tuned in from New York. Helen was wonderful, and so were her fellow presenters, including one woman who had me out of my chair and dancing exuberantly to her rousing playlist, as she guided us through cleansing our spiritual energy. 

At one point, Helen took us through an exercise in which we were to identify something in our lives that was feeling hard, and she helped us reframe our perspective about it. I chose the book proposal, and realized I'd been telling myself for weeks how hard it was, and I could actually spend the same energy telling myself that I am fully equal to the challenge, and could even choose to enjoy the discoveries along the way. This is not a new lesson for me, yet it seems I have to keep relearning it. But it works! That consciousness shift changed everything about how I approach the work, and while it still challenges me, it no longer feels painful. Thank you, Helen.

It's been a while since I've posted a photo of sweet Munch. My daughter's puppy will be a year old next month, so maybe he's no longer a puppy. My girl sends me pictures of him almost every day. Here he is yesterday.


  1. My heart goes out to your neighbor. The thought of her loss is overwhelming.
    Your courtyard sounds wonderful especially now that you can be out in it. I love the picture of Munch, could we see a profile? He truly is the world's cutest dog.

  2. I love how you describe the slow opening of things heading back a bit to normal, how wonderful it is to be outside in the sunlight. Yes! Such sad news about your neighbors. Your description of the wife reminded me so much of myself. It made me heart skip a beat.
    Glad to hear your niece is doing well and love seeing the photo of Munch. Take care there.

  3. Munch is so cute!

    We're still waiting for vaccinations. I'm a nurse and still waiting. We finally got an appointment for my hubby because of his age, not because he works in a hospital. I work with immunosuppressed people and nope, doesn't matter. I'm frustrated and worn out. I'm glad the weather is slowly warming up and look forward to spending more time outside.

    As for you and your writing, you got this. You always worry and you always do a fabulous job of it. Maybe your anxiety about the process makes you a better writer? I don't know.

    Sending hugs.

  4. Your niece. Continuing to grow and thrive, going out on her own, knowing she is loved.

  5. Munch! He’s so cute! It does feel like we can start relaxing a little when we are all vaccinated. I’m looking forward to seeing two of my dearest friends and hugging them very soon. I feel tears of happiness just thinking about it! Indeed it’s been a year of great loss, I’m sorry about your neighbor. What an exciting time for your niece!

  6. such a happy post. it's been a year but we are getting past it. slowly but surely the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter. and I love the report of your workshop with your cousin Helen. we do make our own reality. it all in how we perceive things. but more than that. it's what thoughts we put our energy into. so I'm glad she helped you change your perception.

  7. Beautiful, and what a cute dog. My heart goes out to your neighbor.

  8. I feel right now as if anyone who tried to change my perspective or free my energy would need magic, a tire iron, pliers, and possibly a shaman and a healthy dose of ayahuasca.
    I am so glad that your world is opening up some. I love the image of people sitting on the benches, turning their faces to the sun.
    I grieve for all of those who have lost their most beloveds.
    Munch cheers my soul.
    You give me joy.

  9. Love the dog! Just got my first shot today. Such a relief. Feel so sorry for your neighbor; it is heartbreaking all of the souls we've lost.

  10. Thank you for your kind words and astute observation. Susan did indeed give me a gift.

  11. Awwww, Munch! What a face! I'm glad the proposal is moving forward and feeling less onerous.

  12. Cute dog!

    So sad about your upstairs neighbours. There are so many tragic stories like this. What an unbelievable year this has been. One we'll never forget.