Remember a year ago?

Here is a poem I wrote as covid-19 ravaged us. It was posted in the fine online journal Psaltery & Lyre on March 1, 2021.

So many of us have walked & walked to keep anxiety & grief moving through our bodies & try to maintain sanity.

I had never taken so many photos of trees & sky.

After George Floyd was murdered, one protest action called for by BLM Chicago was chalking sidewalks. So that weekend my walk involved scurrying around with a box of chunky chalk.

Lake Michigan was, & still is, a place to bring everything I’ve felt.

This was my first mask, sewed by a kind neighbor.

Now that I’m fully vaccinated, the rhythms of life are gradually changing. Next month my poetry critique group will meet at my home! There will be less solitude. But those “antiviral walks” will not go away. They allow my body to think & grieve & rejoice.

Of heartache & antiviral walks

During this period of working fully from home, I call my neighborhood walks & hikes “antiviral walks”–they keep me healthy & combat the anxiety & sadness that surge often as I live in physical isolation & read/hear news about the covid19 pandemic’s ravages around the world.

In late afternoon today I bundled up & went on an antiviral walk. Here are some observations of the day & my emotional innards.

When I feel an ache in my chest, it’s a sign that for both physical & emotional reasons, I am overdue for exercise. Movement is my best cure for sadness.

I am staying with friends in a western suburb while work is being done on my new-to-me condo in the city. Here I have access to the Great Western Trail, which used to be a railway line. It is not a beautiful trail, but it is a great place to walk, jog & bike. Some people ride horses along it–there was fresh evidence of one. And a bunny crossed my path.

Masks are comfortable in fall & winter weather–when I don’t need mine over nose & mouth, it serves as a neck warmer. I’m happy about the news that covid vaccines are on their way, & I intend to get one as soon as possible–but I’m going to keep wearing masks in public. They should help protect me from cold & flu & other viruses! And it’s fun to coordinate them with my other clothing.

I decided to walk about a mile to a Goodwill store to look for a winter cap & some gloves. Almost all my clothes are in storage right now.

I didn’t find gloves at Goodwill, but I found a cap big enough for my Goring watermelon head. And a purple scarf I can wear on Sundays during Zoom Advent services. I like wearing the colors of the liturgical season.

Sidewalks are good–I wish all streets had them. The road I walked on after turning off the trail doesn’t. On my way home I stepped into a hollow, invisible as the day darkened, & fell down. As I fell I called out a cheerful “Woooo!” as if letting a companion know that I wasn’t in danger, just playing. I wasn’t hurt. The grass was soft.

I kinda like falling occasionally because it reminds me that my body is still resilient.

Twilight is beautiful everywhere & in every season.

The friends who host me have gone all out on Christmas decorations–rather early, like many of my friends & relatives. This year we need abundant reminders of joy.

Postscript: This afternoon (day after the walk) I wanted to check my driver’s license in order to fill out a form. I became increasingly anxious as I searched everywhere, including the pockets of the coat I had worn on yesterday’s walk. Finally I realized that my wallet might have fallen out of one of said pockets when I fell on the way home.

GOOD thing about no sidewalks on that busy four-lane road: others were not likely to have walked there & picked up the wallet. Also I had received no bank alerts about suspicious credit-card use. I reminded myself of these & other consoling facts as I retraced yesterday’s route–on foot again, as there are few places to pull a car off the road & parking on it isn’t allowed.

The wallet was there, right beside a rather deep hollow in the grass (no wonder I had tripped!). I tucked it into a pocket–which I zipped shut this time–& made my way home rejoicing, meditating on the parable where God is pictured as a woman who loses a valuable coin (that’s any of us) & sweeps & searches her home until she finds it.

I am so grateful to be one of God’s treasures.