I most miss open smiles and hugs full of love.
I miss the waitress at the Colophon Cafe who takes
my order for African peanut soup as the music
of friends chatting and laughing at the other
tables washes over us, and bathes us in their joy.
I miss stopping to chat on the boardwalk and
meeting old friends, and new. I miss getting
to know people as we wait in line at the store,
and running into former students in the aisles.
I miss buying mochas for the stranger standing
on the corner. I miss the buskers and their music,
and the color and energy of the Farmers Market.
Here’s what I will miss when this is over –
I’ll miss the quiet roads and clean blue skies.
I’ll miss the No Car Days and the time at home
with family. I’ll miss the weeks without a schedule
and losing track of time. I’ll miss the stillness
and peace and time to reflect. I’ll miss this time
alone. I’ll miss the uninterrupted time to create
and garden and sing and think. I’ll miss the time
to catch up with correspondence, and the time
to sort and recycle the flotsam and jetsam that
washes from the mailbox and onto our kitchen
counter Monday through Saturday.
I’m going to remember to be grateful for what
I had then, and grateful for what I have now,
and grateful for what I’ll have tomorrow, too.
Karen: Is it Sunday now?
Andrew: I suspect it is.
Taking the dog for a walk. I round the corner and see my neighbor (and former student) across the road. “Hi Michael!” I holler. He looks over and smiles and waves. “Am I a fashion plate?” I ask him. I am wearing floral-patterned garden shoes, purple knee-high socks, baggy denim capri pants two sizes too big and covered in mud at the knees from gardening, my standard black t-shirt and a black fleece jacket. Michael grins at the picture I make. “I just don’t care anymore,” I tell him, laughing.
Michael joins me in the laugh and points to his beard. “You see my beard?” he asks. “I don’t care anymore, either.”
We laugh for a moment with each other, and then wish one another a good night.
Priorities have shifted.
From my place of privilege in the spring green
farmland – a place made for long, quiet solo bike
rides that begin right outside my doorstep – a place
where self-isolating has become a time of sweet
retirement for me – is it my role to judge what is
“essential travel” for that young mother enclosed
in a small apartment with rambunctious toddlers
from morning until night? Maybe that drive through
the countryside with her little ones IS essential to
her well-being. Maybe the woman in the grips of a
dark debilitating depression desperately needs to
leave her home and go for a drive so she can see
children laughing in front yards and folks mowing
their lawns, and be assured that life is still being lived.
Maybe that person we see driving on the roads hasn’t
been to the supermarket for two weeks and needs to
get groceries for another two. I can’t know what goes
on in everyone else’s life. I can only make sure that I
make the best choices I can make in my own life –
choices that come from a place of Love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell – a photo from a solo bike ride through the Skagit flats.)
Enfolded in a sense of perfect well-being
a pure peace and stillness and quiet
surrounds me as I glide on my bike past
green fields and red barns and little yellow
flowers framing the craggly snow-topped
volcano in the background. I can smell
the briny bay and the sweet new buds
on the alders and the earthy scent of the
dairy farm – familiar and comforting.
One or two cars pass me, but I am mostly
alone on this road on the flats. Is it selfish
to say that this quiet time of quarantine
has been a blessing for me? I have thirsted
for a break from the angst and agitation,
the buzzing busyness and frantic, frenetic
frightful panicked pace of politics and ego.
I am enjoying this simple time of just be-ing.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
“Peace, be still.”
– Mark 4:39
Cleaning During a Time of Quarantine
The cleaning started with the bedroom – I vacuumed, dusted,
filled five bags full of clothes to take to the thrift shop
when it opens again someday, and washed the curtains
so they glowed golden in the sunshine from bottom to top.
Next it was the cupboard in the family room – sorting
electronics, gizmos and gadgets, a springy door stop,
a weird stretchy thing for exercising, the sons’ old toys,
and treasure! – an old card with love from Moz and Pop.
Then the closet under the stairs – a file full of paperwork
that was important once, costumes, Thomas the Tank Engine
train set, baskets full of old magazines, and board games,
an old slide projector and carousel, winter clothing in bins.
And today I awoke slowly from a lovely afternoon nap
to see curtains glowing golden in the afternoon sunlight.
Who could have guessed to find such beauty and peace
in clean light-filled curtains – in that simple sight?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell