Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Small bits

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

It now feels almost normal to keep six feet separation from others, wash my hands and face frequently, and wear a mask when I leave my home. Here in the Washington, D.C. metro area, pretty much everyone continues to follow the guidelines for sheltering in place and social distancing, due to the fact that we continue to have many new COVID-19 cases each day. There is some good news in that these numbers are beginning to plateau, although a more marked decrease would be a true cause for celebration.

Here's a brief reflection on three small things that are true at my home these days....

1.  My stockpile of "first response" virus weapons on the kitchen counter: a bin of freshly-laundered masks, disinfectant wipes, individually-wrapped ones for any errands, and tissues. These supplies are always out - right near the sink, right as you enter my house, right at the ready. We have back ups in a cabinet, should this supply dwindle. Once upon a time, I did my best to keep the counter clear, clean, and decluttered; now, it is as if I have a small shrine at one end. 

The first line of defense for coronavirus: my kitchen counter.

2. Book stacks, at the ready. These are not books I am reading; no, these books are prepped to be the perfect height for video calls. I have a stack of books on my living room coffee table, where we sit for virtual church services. I have a stack of books in the spare bedroom, "my home office," where I do all my virtual teaching. There is a third stack of books near the cozy chair in my bedroom, for social calls with friends. Each of these books stacks just seems part of the room decor, at this point.

My living room coffee table, with books ready for "Zoom church services."

3. There's been a significant increase in animal sightings. Are we simply more aware? Is this because we are home in one place and able to take more notice? Have they always been there? The backyard birds have been amazing to watch, with many having regular routines when they visit our yard. I've challenged myself to learn their individual sounds, using The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website as a reference tool.

When we walk down one particular street, we invariably see an albino squirrel...I don't think I have ever seen one of those before, and now I can find this little guy almost daily.

Then, of course, there are deer. Just yesterday, we had a funny experience. Tony was in the backyard, trying to shoo a doe from the yard (we are doing our best to keep them from eating our tomato plants, which have just started to flower and seem to be particularly attractive to deer). He was frustrated by the deer's bold refusal to leave, as she just stood there looking back at him, when he felt a soft brushing against his bare leg - and jumped when he found two small fawns looking up at him!  Mother did not want to abandon her children.

Last but not least of the animal sightings, we believe we've found a favorite nesting spot of a great blue heron at a nearby creek..this seems special. The heron flew directly over us the other day, swooping low, seemingly comfortable and at ease to be near us. Later, looking up the possible meaning of this connection, I loved this reminder:

The Heron comes to us with a message of meditate and contemplate. You are exactly where you need to be right now in this moment! When this graceful bird crosses your path, stop and think - just pause. Sometimes that is all we need to do when we are in the middle of a chaotic situation or a difficult decision.


  1. So true! All of it. My stack of books is a perfectly proportioned cardboard box. And I never really took much notice of local plants, but we've been using google lens to identify every flower, tree and plant we can and have started a raised bed garden.

    1. Yes, the slowing down has led to real gifts - like noticing local plants. Kudos on your new garden!

  2. Love these slices of things around you that are different. Just today I was thinking about how some things are just different enough to notice... Thanks for writing these!

    1. Exactly - "just different enough to notice"! Small things that didn't used to be this way.