So there’s a lot of talk now about opening up - countries, states, businesses. How to do it. What’s best. What’s safe. Are there things more important than living. It’s an interesting question. And a personal one. How do you begin to open up?
Except for putting out the trash and recycling I’ve been inside since March 13. I count myself extremely fortunate to have been able to work from home and have most things delivered while donating to food pantries out of some combination of empathy, powerlessness and survivors guilt. But as the numbers drop, the weather improves and the sirens becomes less frequent - the push for normalcy is felt both without and within. Lately I’ve felt the same rising anxiety I felt in the early days of March - a crippling fear that was beginning to affect my mental health. Finally this morning at 5am I put on the mask I ordered from Etsy, took the trash out and kept going.
At first it was surreal being out. Everything felt stark, like i was walking through a video game. There were very few cars but i saw two police cars and a guy on a bike. The biker nodded in my direction. Breathing with the mask took some getting used to - my glasses kept fogging up. But still. I was outside. The sound of trains underground. Birds excitedly chirping. Flowering buds on tall trees. Sunrise. After about three blocks i began to acclimate and started taking pictures. I forgot myself and breathed easier. An amateur anthropologist alive within her own experiment. After maybe 20 minutes outside I came home and sat down to write this.
We’re unlikely to have any real perspective on what the 2020 quarantine means for some time so for now I’ll steer clear of revelations and declarations. But at least for a few minutes this morning I lived a little more and feared a little less. I began to open up.
To be continued...