I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, December 19, 2021

A change in plans

Lake Whatcom last Thursday

This gloomy scene is actually in color, although you sure wouldn't know it unless I told you. I took this last Thursday on our holiday walk with the Senior Trailblazers. Although it's shades of grey, the day itself was a nice treat: lots of old friends and no rain fell on us for most of the time we were out. So, there were bright spots among the day's dreariness.

I'm hoping that I will be finding some of the same bright spots for the Christmas holiday, as well as for this post. Yesterday I realized that the entire globe is in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic for yet another rough patch ahead. Christmas celebrations are being canceled everywhere. Last night, Saturday Night Live sent their audience home and pretty much canceled the show; all the live Broadway performances are also closing down, getting ready for the Omicron advance.

For those of you not already aware of the newest version of the virus (Omicron), you will definitely become aware of it soon. Somehow, after all our hopes for a wonderful holiday season, coronavirus is coming back with a vengeance, more contagious and capable of evading our vaccines, at least to some extent. I, for one, am more than a little afraid of what's to come. In Denmark, where some of the best epidemiologists in the world study, they are saying in this Washington Post article that we are about to enter our hardest month yet. The only good news is that this version of the virus might not be as severe as previous ones, but no one knows for sure at this point.

Yesterday, SG and I discussed our options, and how we intend to get through this surge. I will, for the time being, no longer go inside any restaurants to sit for a meal, and I am debating about whether to stop going into the coffee shop and start using my French Press once again for my morning coffee. I can still walk in my neighborhood and drive to beautiful places around me to keep up my exercise, but I will stay away from the gym for awhile. By the time Christmas Day gets here next week, we should know more about what's to come. We are both triple-vaxxed and have had our flu shots, but our advanced age doesn't make me feel very good about exposing ourselves to other people in any setting, really. Perhaps it will turn out better than I'm anticipating. The world has been through harder times than this, and things turned out just fine. Eventually.

This latest surge could not have come at a more difficult time, with lots of people traveling and getting together with family for the holidays. I feel very fortunate to have the ability to get online and learn how others are coping, and see how my dear friends in our virtual community are doing. I feel a need to find some semblance of hope and happiness for our situation, since the entire world is going through this, not just one country or just one continent. We are all in this together, so I am hoping that we will find a way out of it together. Perhaps our governments will realize that and come together in peace to find a new way forward. It's possible.

The world situation has made me more determined than ever to spend my days striving to find more loving kindness and compassion around me, and not to "awful-ize" and let hopelessness take hold. Although I am not looking forward to being housebound, at least I have a warm and cozy home, with a partner who shares my days and gives me plenty to be grateful for. I will go forward one day at a time, and try everything I can to stay healthy and serene for the trials and tribulations to come. 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

Emily Dickinson wrote these words more than a century ago, and they resonate with me today. Hope is the one thing I have for the time ahead, and I really must remember that events never turn out the way they seem at the time, and that even storm clouds have a silver lining. Look for the bright spots in the darkness, and together we can imagine a sunny future ahead.

And now my tea is gone, my dear partner sleeps next to me, and the world looks quite a bit different to me now than it did when I began this post an hour ago. It might not live up to my standards of love and joy that I strive for, but I sure do feel better, knowing we are still together and will prevail. Until we meet again next week, I wish you all good things. Be well and accept my humble virtual hug.


Elephant's Child said...

Hope is a fragile essential isn't it?
On the Omnicron variant we watch and wait. Safely. From a distance.
Your hug is gratefully received - and reciprocated.

Marie Smith said...

Sending a hug in return, Jan.

We have the highest number of cases here since the pandemic began. We expect to have to isolate in the days ahead. If we do, we will manage as we did before. We are glad to be able to be outside and stay in contact with family and friends, including those we know from blogging. Stay safe!

Linda Reeder said...

Perhaps I should be more worried than I am. We are just going about our lives much as we have done all year, since we were first vaccinated in February. WE have spent time with friends and family, and we are continuing to do that for the holidays. Do what you feel you need to to be safe, but don't live in fear.

Arkansas Patti said...

Your hug arrived safely,contaminant free and welcome. Sending one back in the same condition. It has been a long while since I have enjoyed a real one.
One good thing with this variant is that we have been trained and practicing for well over a year how to be safe so we should get through this one OK.
Take care and be safe.

John's Island said...

Thank you, DJan, for the hug and I'm returning one for you. You wrote a wonderful post today, and expressed many of my sentiments about the virus and the road ahead. I especially loved this: "The world situation has made me more determined than ever to spend my days striving to find more loving kindness and compassion around me, and not to "awful-ize" and let hopelessness take hold." DJan, you are such a great writer. You are missing a bet by not writing a book. :-) My thoughts lately have often drifted over to "awful-ize" and I'm really working on trying to stop that. By the way, have you noticed that we've been missing comments from ApacheDug? Last one I saw was on Oct 31. I have enjoyed reading his comments, as I do several of the other regulars. Maybe he will drop by today. I've already completed my waterfront walk and enjoyed a nice breakfast. Moving on now to taking care of the blogosphere. I send wishes for a safe, peaceful, and joyful week ahead to you and SG. John

Rita said...

Love that quote.
We have survived isolation before so I am thinking positive. :)

Gigi said...

Sending you a huge hug back! Not to be a negative Nellie but I've been expecting this surge and will continue to play it safe. That's all we can really do at this point. Have a great week and a very Merry Christmas, my friend.

Linda Myers said...

My nurse practitioner friend said to me yesterday, "Wash your hands, wear a mask, and live your life." So far, we can do that.

Red said...

I'm beginning to think that we are very confused about the pandemic. We are becoming exhausted. we don't know what to think. Covid seems to be able to win every time. You're right that we need to feel hopeful about an ending for covid. Enjoy your day.

Betsy said...

I'm so glad to read your hopeful post about the way you are planning t otry and avoid this new covid surge. Our son and DIL in London have the new omicron variant right now. Both are vaccinated and boostered. They also had covid in March of 2020 when this whole thing started. The difference is that our dear DIL is 5 months pregnant so we are very concerned. They are SO careful. Masks anytime they are out of their house. No public transportation at all. They tell us that it has literally exploded in London. They know of 11 friends who have all been sick with it this week. So, vaccinations and masking and having covid before did not prevent them from getting sick. It is a scary and frustrating world we live in right now.

gigi-hawaii said...

The case count is surging here in Hawaii, too. But, we intend to celebrate Christmas in our home with 12 family members. If we have to die, let us die with family.

Anvilcloud said...

Any restaurant plans that we had have been cancelled, and we are doing grocery pickup once more. We are also shunning exercise class. Aside from that, our lives and gatherings are modest, so there won't be any social impact as far as I know now. We'll have a little Christmas with our little family and hope for the best.

Rian said...

"Hope is a thing with feathers..." one of my favorite poems. And we do have hope - hope that eventually we will get beyond Covid. Another surge (Omicron variant) - OK, we will continue to do all the things necessary to keep safe. We are vaccinated and boostered, but know there's still danger with contact.

Vaccinated family members do get together, but not in large groups. Unvaccinated family members do wear masks - for their own safety and ours. Do we live in fear? No...but we are cautious and don't want these last 2 years of caution to be wasted by one stupid mistake. I guess I want ALL family members to be around for future holidays. If we have to give up traditional get-togethers for a year or 2, then so be it.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas, DJan!

William Kendall said...

It's been said that as a virus becomes more transmissible it starts losing some of its strength. Hopefully it is the case with this variant.

I'm exhausted of Covid. And I feel at a low point right now. A lot of that is the time of year. After this nonsense of a holiday is past, that will start to lift.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Sending you a hug too! It is scary out there. I think everyone is tired of Covid, it is all exhausting. Up here school was closed for a couple of days...flu. If it isn't one thing it is another. Neighbors up here lost a unvaccinated brother, he was diabetic and 50 some years old...said he didn't fear Covid. I do not understand it all. I hope you have a good week, stay safe!!

Marty said...

I was late in reading your post, but the hopeful words were still just as helpful.
We hope to see family in these dark times - today's quest is to find some Covid rapid tests to make that possible.
And again, thank you for sending me kind words about Mamie. I really does help to know someone else has thought of her, if just for a moment.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, thank you for Emily's poem on hope. I read it yesterday because a friend of nearly fifty years had spoken not he phone the night before and admitted to one another (confessed!) that hope within us was slipping away. And so we both shored one another up with stories from the past and the value of believing with Julian or Norwich that "all shall be well."

We must do our part to make "all well." And that's hard when must of us must stay indoors and yet you manage to help us all with your virtual hugs and your sharing that is always so tender, aware of differences, and open to possibilities. Thank you.


Tabor said...

hope, kindness and forgiveness are all that we have and we must continue to nurture those until this pandemic has given up its grasp.