Thinking of Spring and COVID-19

_DSC0105

We are sheltering at home except for essentials here in southwest Florida. Some of our friends/neighbors have left for homes up north due to Covid-19 – one couple to Toronto because their insurance won’t cover Covid-19 treatment in the US and another couple back to Missouri because both have conditions that increase their vulnerability and they want to be near family and familiar doctors. We’ve been wondering when we should head home, doing a constant cost/benefit analysis. So far the benefits of staying in Florida are winning.

Friday marked the beginning of spring, but it wasn’t much noticed in Florida. Spring isn’t celebrated in Florida like it is in Michigan. It is hard to get excited about the awakening of nature in Florida because this subtropical climate doesn’t have a dormant season. Plants only slow down their growth a little in the dryer winter months and there are always some flowering plants to add patches of glorious color to the landscape. No landscape of drab blacks, browns, and greys here.

On the other hand, the first day of spring can seem like a cruel joke in Michigan. We don’t rush into spring in Michigan, the photos featured on this post were taken middle of May last year at Hidden Lake Gardens in the southern-most part of the state. For people in Michigan, the first day of spring is a celebration of hope that spring will really come – some day soon. I grew up hearing that “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.” I remember years when we observed that march came in like a lamb and out like a lion. Yes, we have had some really big snowstorms in late March and April.

_DSC0096

When I use my logic, I know that our quality of life is better where we live in Florida than where we live in Michigan. Here I have sunshine every day, our livingroom and diningroom are open to our screened lanai so I hear birds all day long, I have ready access to plentiful fresh fruits and vegetables at the market a mile down the street, I have daily access to our pool and a great neighborhood to bike in, and I can always drive into the Everglades if I need to run away for a day.

Through my writing I am realizing that it is my grief that is driving my desire to go north, even though my head says I’m better here. I feel a deep loss from loosing church services at a church that feeds our soul, my weekly visits to the Naples Botanical Garden, not having the miles of beautiful beach available for a morning visit or an evening sunset.

_DSC0011

I miss not being able to go to my favorite family-owned restaurants for a cozy, fun meal with Jim and I worry about the financial viability of these restaurants and other small businesses I frequent. Most of all I worry about the service staff that we have gotten to know, who now are facing an uncertain future without sufficient income. Their faces pop into my head and I want to help them but don’t know how.

If I look inside myself, I feel a very heavy heart and a soul that is weeping. Life as I knew it is being shaken, the ground has shifted so it no longer feels stable. It is real for me, as Jim just left to go to the drugstore for some items. I know that he is more likely to get sick because he is a male but I also know that cabin fever attacks him much more quickly than it does me. When he gets home I’ll remind him to wash his hands long and well. I feel sad about our (all of us) loss of security. We don’t know what will happen and no one likes the feeling of loosing a sense of control – maybe that is why people are hoarding toilet paper.

_DSC0039

I remember reading about a study a long time ago, of depression in old people living in nursing homes caused by the almost total loss of control. In one study they gave each resident a geranium to care for and in another they gave them a bird in a bird cage that they needed to feed and clean up after. In both cases the people were given control over something and their moods improved. They became happier people better able to handle the stress of aging within their living environment.

I can take control of several aspects of my life even though the threats I encounter come from a little known virus that is raging through our population and experts are projecting will get much worse before it gets better. Thanks to our freedom of the press and excellent access to social media I can gain a sense of control by informing myself of facts. I listen mostly to MSNBC because I appreciate the army of experts that they interview throughout the day. I read the Washington Post and get updates from the New York Times. I refuse to accept the propaganda of a deep state that is out to get us. The deep state consists of thousands of government employees who have dedicated their lives to making sure citizens are helped by government services. I refuse to be one of the people who believes that facts are fake news. I refuse to be someone who doesn’t listen to news because “experts” are saying something different and they don’t know who to believe. If I am going to maintain some control I need to make decisions – and to make decisions I need information. I need information from multiple sources and to think about who is trustworthy – based on their education and work experience. Over time I have learned that I can’t trust our president but I can trust journalists who tell us what they have learned and who they learned it from. I trust experts while always questioning motives and bias.

I gain a sense of control every time I make a decision to wash hands, stay home, and abide by other guidelines given us by the CDC and experts on infectious deceases and pandemics. I know I am in control when I eat healthy meals and do what I can to get good sleep to keep my immune system strong. I know I have some control over the outcome of this pandemic when I reach out with a phone call, a written note, or through social media to share assurance or comfort or just fun conversation with people I know. I know I will be able to cope with isolation by keeping active with knitting, quiltmaking, editing photo files, working puzzles, exercise, reading and maintaining safe social contact with others.

I have a plan and I know I will do okay during this shitty time (no I didn’t buy extra toilet paper). Do you have a plan? How can you maintain a sense of control?

Blessings and stay well.

 

17 Comments »

  1. I’m here in Chicago where it is gray and cold. Has been raining or snowing. That sunshine in Florida is really a blessing. As are the birds in the flowers. Just soak it all in. Sending blessings to you.

    Like

  2. My plan? Staying in for at least 14 days as I just returned from an international trip. Depending on my daughter should I need “essentials.” But worried too about all those who don’t have the advantages I have. Got a lot of comfort this morning listening to several church services, being reminded that my faith gives hope.

    Like

  3. Like you, I eat healthy meals and do what I can to get good sleep to keep my immune system strong. I am scheduling video calls on things like FaceTime and Zoom, so I can see my friends as we are having conversations, seems much more sociable, and we can see how we are doing, to try and lift the gloom a little. I know I will be able to cope with isolation by keeping in contact, however remote, and by doing things that I enjoy, photography, blogging etc. Also, I am trying to keep a bit active, as my MSTherapy group physiotherapists are posting live videos of exercises we can do daily. Do take care, stay safe, stay upbeat!

    Like

  4. Wise words, Pat. I am sorry that your nature outlets of beach and botanical gardens are closed to you. Fresh air, sunshine and exercise are so important to maintain our health, not to mention sanity. Is there a chance, now that Spring Break is over that the beaches will reopen?

    Like

    • They are closed until the end of March, the end of high season. They will reassess for April depending on what the virus is doing in the city and the county.It is sad for me but the impact of COVID-19 is less for me than most people. I didn’t loose a job – I’m retired.

      Like

  5. The virus affects every corner of the world and if I have learned anything during the last few weeks it is this – ignore anything in Social Media, listen only to bonafide medical reports.

    In England, our Prime Minister has learnt the facts and studied reports from around the world. He delivers the truth to the nation in an honest and articulate way.

    What I have learned from the briefings is that none of us have immunity to the virus, sooner or later it will catch up with us where ever we are.

    Right now, we older ones need to stay away from others and buy our hospitals the time they need to prepare, and gather the equipment they need to save all those that are too vulnerable to fight.

    Don’t let it get you down, Pat, stay clear of others, and enjoy the roses!

    Like

    • Thanks for your comments, Sue. Our president is completely uninformed and is unable to understand what people tell him. Consequently, nothing he says can be trusted to be true.

      Like

  6. So much here, Pat. Thank you!
    I would love some sun and flowers right now! Of course, they will be abundant in a few weeks but I want them now!
    We heard advice that we should have a pair of shoes that live outside and are worn when we go to public spaces. Also clothes should go immediately into the wash when we arrive home, then we should jump in the shower, Supposedly, the shoes are most important of the lot. And hand washing, LOL……

    Like

    • Question, Michael. Should we take our groceries into the shower, put them in with the dirty clothes, or leave them outside with the outside shoes? Sorry for the snark – sometimes I overthink things and am bad at following directions if there are huge logical holes in them. LOL I am finding lots of things to laugh about and that is good.

      Like

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s