The Big Pause
14 April 2020 | Edgartown, Massachussetts
April 12, 2020
Day 19 of Shelter in Place due to the Coronavirus
Today is Easter Sunday. I went to mass via my phone while in bed. I have always found the idea of television evangelicals and those who watch them uncomfortable. This was not that. This service was held at our church, St. Elizabeth’s in Edgartown. This was our priest, Fr. Nagle, preaching to an empty room. It was familiar so it felt strangely comforting and isolating at the same time. I wonder if it felt as surreal to Fr. Nagle as it did to me. Mass is meant to bring the congregation together. As I watched him partake in the Holy Sacrament of Communion, I couldn’t help but wonder if communion will ever be the same for me again.
Jay and I continue to take walks as the weather permits. The other day, we took a walk in the woods. We came across two people walking toward us. They raised their masks across their faces. We wrapped our scarves tighter across our mouths and noses. Instinctively, we drew apart, crossing paths as far away as possible. If this is the “new normal” I hate it. Human beings are meant to connect with one another not repel as if repulsed by the other. Intellectually, I understand this is to keep us safe. On a purely emotional level, I can’t help but be saddened by this.
After two weeks of self-isolation to be confident we didn’t bring the virus home with us through our travels, it was time to go to the market. I called Stop n Shop in Edgartown and asked about the senior hours. I was told not to come during those hours as the store is packed with people. The store clerk suggested I come later. She was right.
I anticipated a line of people outside waiting to go in. There was no line. I wore my mask and gloves and sanitized the cart. As I walked inside, I saw lines on the floor; tape used to direct customers to travel through the store in a one-way direction. The store was not overly crowded. There was room to stay six feet apart. Most everyone followed directions but for this one man who hurried up the isle the wrong way and bullied his way to the cans of tuna fish. He had no concern for anyone but himself. I almost said something but didn’t. He wasn’t worth my while.
There was food but there were empty shelves too. I was able to get almost everything on my list. I packed the cart full so I wouldn’t have to go back for at least two weeks if not more.
We hear rumors about the cruisers in Mexico who decided to stay and wait out this crisis on their boats. Many headed to the Sea of Cortez where there are beautiful coves to anchor. Some are finding they aren’t welcome. I suppose it is fear driving the Mexicans. They don’t want strangers bringing the virus to their small villages where there is little, if any, medical care. One can’t blame them. We hear of ports being closed. If allowed in, the cruisers are checked for fever and told to quarantine for two weeks. Others are told to leave. There are check points on the roads and the Navy patrolling the beaches. I think Jay has finally agreed that coming home was the right thing to do.
Some days I don’t want to get out of bed.
Other days, I can’t stay busy enough.
I cook. I clean the dishes. I put the dishes away. I cook. I clean the dishes. I put the dishes away. I cook…
I watch the news. Maybe I should. Maybe I shouldn’t. I don’t know. But I watch the news.
I continue to write but find it difficult to focus.
It is like I am suspended in time.
Governor Cuomo of New York calls it the NY Pause. Every day between eleven and noon, he holds a press conference. He delivers facts. He explains the situation he is facing in New York which is a mirror of what all communities are facing or will be facing. He has a team of professionals that are working all angles to contain the virus, support the medical workers, and find a way back from this nightmare. I have to say it again, he addresses these problems with facts. And compassion. Governor Cuomo is the epitome of a true leader. He gives me hope for our country. In fact, if it not for (most) of our governors, I don’t know where we would be in this mess.
Our prayers continue to go out to all those who are suffering and for all those who are helping us through this nightmare. May we all have the strength to do our part. Even if it is simply by staying home.