A lot of us are going to emerge from this chrysalis we’ve been in — to one extent or another — and we’re going to be butterflies our friends don’t recognize. Maybe we won’t recognize them, either, maybe we won’t recognize ourselves as we flit around awkwardly in milieus that were once familiar.

I’m just a few weeks away from that moment, and while I would not wish this pandemic, this virus, or this strange year on anybody (not even myself) I have mixed feelings about “getting back to normal.” I don’t know how I feel about that normal. It was OK at the time but was it REALLY OK? I don’t know. Most people have probably done more to retain a “normal” life than I have. I felt early on that if the existence of a disease and its possible consequences could be politicized, and people could BELIEVE it didn’t have the sorrowful potential it has had, I didn’t want to play. I didn’t want to know who among my neighbors didn’t “believe in it” any more than I wanted to know which were passionate Trumpists. Here and now is the location of our lives.

Yesterday I went to the Post Office and saw that my town has decorated itself for a Crane Festival it isn’t having. It looks beautiful. There are banners hanging from light posts and fastened below are beautifully hand-painted steel cranes that will be auctioned off this coming summer. The sun was shining, it was a warm March day. People waved at me, which was at first surprising, but then I remembered, “Oh yeah, I live here, and I was famous that time.” It isn’t that I haven’t been out at all, I have, but on the verge of emerging it felt different.

ANY-hoo I have one category of books to evaluate, a pretty large one, so I’d better put my nose to the grindstone.


16 thoughts on “Emergence?

  1. It is gonna be weird, Martha. I’ve seen my new dental hygienist twice in Covid, and I have no idea what she looks like! It’s crazy that something we didn’t like wearing in the first place (the mask!) is something I don’t want to not wear. I get my 2nd vaccine on April Fools Day, and my state is opening up, but I’m not ready.

    • I’m not ready, either. Everything about me has either changed or (more accurately) become less negotiable. I used to save room in my studio for people to sleep. Now they can go find a motel. 🙂

  2. Our normal is not much different than what it once was a year ago. Parkinson’s disease was/is great practice for staying home. Our whole world has gotten smaller in the past few years. I will get my second shot on Saturday but I am still uncomfortable breathing someone else’s air. Parks and outside are somehow more attractive than inside and parties.

    • Parks and outside are a lot more attractive to me at any time, anyway, but now? Yeah. I feel that maybe I know more about people now than I did before and I think that’s part of the problem. 😦

  3. For lots of reasons, my world lost its “normal” — whatever that was — when Dan’s cancer came back with a vengeance. COVID is icing on that stale cake. What I am looking forward to is getting together with people who have stood by me, offering to help with groceries, walking the dog, etc. In my tiny microcosm of an apartment building everyone has behaved splendidly during this nightmare of a year, and I am eagerly anticipating sharing some wine and conversation with neighbors as soon as Dan’s second shot is two weeks in the rearview mirror: April 9th.

    I find I don’t really want to go back to what was before. Parts — of course. But I don’t think any of us will ever be the same after seeing what we have in the last year, let alone the last four. Time to build a different kind of stance toward the larger (American) world — more cautious, less trusting, eyes wide open.

  4. Emergence – I think that like cocoon and chrysalis, there may be some that don’t emerge. We lay in a suspended animation and wait. Some will never find release. Others will come out into this new world unchanged while still more will be so completely transformed as to be unrecognizable to even their most intimate friends… I’m just hoping to be able to break open and find that I can still fly (even if I’m an ugly common clothes moth)!

    • I’m seeing ahead of me the challenge of defending territory that I didn’t know I valued before this happened. I’m going to have to tell people, “Sorry, that’s not me anymore.” I hope I have the courage.

  5. It’s so interesting how our tourist town is amping up for all the families coming in for Spring Break. Masks are still mandatory. You can feel anticipation in the air that this season will be the best.
    I feel so changed watching it all. Well, I’m changed. The pandemic “forced” me to place boundaries that I was too weak to place prior. I found some peace in my solitude and carved out space to grow some dreams I had set aside. We’re celebrating my Mom’s birthday this weekend. One year ago I surprised her by having her siblings join us~one day after that we went into quarantine. Her older brother, my Uncle Junior, has battled cancer during this time. He’s weak and chemo no longer working (in blood and bones). Family is holding tighter with hearts even after periods of isolation. But we’ve all changed. And I want to be a butterfly. If only to fly above the normal that I hope doesn’t return. We can be better than we were. All my places of peace have become very busy since “nature became cool” for some who never thought it an option. But I don’t mind driving (or fluttering) away to discover new places. Your home town’s decorations and atmosphere is encouraging. ❤️💛

    • The fact that “nature has become cool” really pisses me off. It isn’t there for all those peoples’ convenience. It’s there for itself. I’ve always felt that way to some extent, but that feeling has grown this past year as I’ve seen places trashed and exploited by disrespectful ignorant people. I just hope they don’t haven’t really chanced and now really DO think nature is cool; I hope they’ll all go back to their craft breweries sometime soon.

      And as with your uncle, people around me have continued fighting battles that they would have had to fight anyway and maybe with less support from friends and family than they would have had.

      But you have said everything so beautifully, “space to grow dreams” is exactly it, the liberty to be free of even having to negotiate or say “No. There’s no room in my house,” which I will have to learn to say to people first because it’s literally true (one person could stay here) and second because I’ve learned to value my space — psychically and physically. Exactly what you’ve said, “‘forced’ to place boundaries that I was too weak to place prior.” I hope I have the courage. ❤

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