The need for solitude, even in the midst of a pandemic


I feel for the extroverts. The social butterflies. You know the ones. The people who really need to be with other people, to connect regularly. I don’t think I’m an extrovert, but neither am I fully introverted either. But, I do like my solitude. I need it as much as I need food and water. Like everyone else I have had good days and not so good days through all of this isolation. This past week has been extra stressful with the flooding in our city; the worry about family members who live in the flood zone and the necessity of having to travel out of town for hubby’s dialysis treatments. We have to go again tomorrow. The worst is trying to remember to pack everything we might need. We stay overnight in Lac La Biche as the dialysis can be very hard on him. At any rate, this morning I woke up with a tension/sinus headache. There are so many things to deal with that it just overwhelms me sometimes. We are fortunate to live in an apt. building that overlooks a green space with a small pond. So, I decided to go for a walk to clear my head and bust up the stress that’s been mounting throughout the week. I am glad I did. I took a slow stroll around the pond watching the ducks. As I walked around the small grove of trees I stopped to listen to the chickadees and red-winged black birds that were singing. There were not many people around and it was a joy to just be; to quiet my mind and commune with nature for a bit. It is a beautifully calm and sunny day here today and I am counting my blessings as I write this. I hope you who are reading this are finding positive ways to cope with the stress of this pandemic. I hope you are well and keeping safe. I will leave you with this photo from our balcony and with my sincere wishes for many blessings for whatever you may need today.

Taken August 2019 after heavy rains

Just checking in….do you have any scintillating news to share? I do not!


It’s been a little over a month of self isolation for hubby and I. It started on March 13th right after we got back from a trip to the city where he’d had a medical appointment. A couple of days before we left the news about the corona virus was beginning to get more intense. But the city of Edmonton had just two cases, that was on Tuesday by Thursday there were twenty. It was rather stressful being in the city as there were so many unanswered questions, there still are, I know. At any rate with hubby’s health placing him near the top of the list for vulnerability neither of us were keen on taking any chances at all. On 13th of March I also received word from my employer not to come in to work the next day. By Monday we learned the library would be closed until further notice.

So, what to do with all the time I now had on my hands? How were we going to cope? Except for missing my coworkers and the regular patrons at the library I am doing okay. It wasn’t a huge leap for us anyway because hubby’s health has kept us pretty much home bound for years now – so we had practice, not an awful lot of adjusting to do. It is only now, a month later, than I am beginning to chaff at the bit. How much television can one watch without going bonkers? I am not much for t.v. at the best of times, but have been watching much more than I usually do.

I am trying to keep busy sewing home-made masks for whomever may need them. (I need to double-check the site to see who is asking for them still.) I dislike house cleaning but I guess the place could use a spring cleaning. On a positive note I saw two Canada geese flying overhead this morning, a sure sign spring is on the way. I was thrilled to see them. I am looking forward to the spring weather, even if it only means sitting out on the balcony watching the world go by. Admittedly the world is going by at a snail’s pace so that may not hold my attention for long. Then again, I cannot tackle much that requires a lot of attention. My brain is doing the flickering thing like a light bulb about to burn out. Reading books is a challenge, for example, as I often have to read the same page several times before it sinks in. I am just too distracted.

Can you tell I am getting rather bored? What are you doing to handle the boredom? How are you handling this forced isolation? I find it more interesting to read the thoughts of others’ than to continue to sit with mine, which tend to run in circles more often than not the past few days. At any rate, I hope you’re all doing okay and managing the inertia this isolation thing has brought on (well, for me anyway). I would love to hear what you’re doing and how you’re spending your time. Take care everybody and stay safe.

What if? A Utopian dream.


But what if? What if this enforced isolation, this horrible pandemic causes us all to  see with new eyes? What if the steady growth of consumerism stops? What if it causes us to re-examine our values? What if we begin to see all human life, no matter the nation, as sacred, as holy, as needing to be deeply respected and revered. And not just human life but all life from the most microscopic insect or bug to the largest mammals on the planet? What if we begin to make decisions that honor life in general – every plant, every tree? What if we stop seeing the world as a resource to be plundered, but rather, a resource to be respected and cared for? What if utopia is being birthed? What if greed falls on its knees to need? What if we recognize there is indeed no “other”, that we are one race, one people? What if love is reborn in every heart and mind? What if? Oh what a world it could be.

Isolation


Pixabay Image

At times we may hide ourselves

Deep within a self-made cave

When wounds are deep and trust is low

When thoughts we think are full of woe

And blessings are unseen

curses seem the way of things

it’s hard to listen or hear the clarion bell

That speaks to us of our worthiness

The chime is sweet, but we are weak

And deaf to its dulcet tone

Blind we are to beauty rich

And bitterness enters in

Words and thoughts swirl within

The whirl pool of our minds

Deepest waters drown out the good

And doubt seems to rule the day

When offered options to sink or swim

We too often choose the former

And sink deeper below the waves

But like the sea we can cast ashore

The flotsam and jetsam of our minds

All that harms and poisons us

We have control of these

Though we think it otherwise

Oh no, my dear, the lies you tell yourself  as you curl up here

Like a fetus within the womb

Will surely be your ruin

Look here and see within this mirror that I hold for thee

The mirror that is my eyes, for loveliness, and goodness too

Are what I see in you

Do not hold fast your stubborn disbelief but take a chance and see

I will reflect back to you all the grace and sweetness you possess

Your kindness and loving disposition

Set free that demon that’s riding high upon your burdened soul

Let it, not you, sink far below

To never rise again

Come swim, come swim

And leave, at least for now

This horrid isolation

The monster’s demise


“Leave me alone,” screams the child within

But the ogre under my rib cage will have none of it

Like a leach attached to tender skin it continues to suck me dry

Consuming every bit of life and leaving me gasping

The control monster stomps freely

Holding me captive

At the end of a leash

“OH, freedom, come, please come” the soul whimpers

Jailed within – though seemingly free without

I travel in endless circles of malaise

Though I struggle, scream, and shout

No one answers – they do not hear

The leash is short and freedom curtailed by its length

The chains around my heart squeeze like an enormous boa constricter

Until my every breath pains me

Locked in a seemingly never-ending crater of loneliness

Pain and isolation are of my making

No other creator but I

The monster breathes

But only because I allow it

I will lift the sword again

I muster every bit of inner strength

I will chop off the monster’s head

Chuck it into the garbage bin where it belongs

And try again to soldier on

The thirst for freedom I will slake

And taste again the sweetness of life

When your muse dies


STORM

When your muse dies,

Or seems to have fled

And your soul shrivels up

words fail

And the light goes out

The world is full of darkness

Where there is no inspiration

And all seems dismal

Suddenly a flash of lightening colours the sky

With a momentary brightness

And in the storm

Hope rises up

To tell me:

This, too, shall pass

So worry not

All is well

And all will be well

Unsung heroes


“Perseverance is the act of true role models and heroes.”  – Liza M. Wiemer

LIGHTENING by Hannes P. Rudolph

Photo by Hannes P. Rudolph

They sit in the fire towers day after day and month after month, these remarkable men and women who scan the landscape tirelessly for signs of smoke and fire. And they do this in isolation – spending their time with only the company of nature to break the monotony of solitude.  I think it takes a special kind of courage to spend vast amounts of time alone – so much time in seclusion would drive ordinary people mad. At least that is my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to have quiet moments, time alone to reflect on life and love and all things meaningful. But I am no hero. I do not feel I have the strength of mind to be a recluse, even if it’s only a temporary thing. However, the men and women I write about are heroes. The work they do is not glamorous or thrilling but it does save lives – whether animal, bird, or human. They also save vast tracts of wilderness from the inevitable destruction of fire.

After the wildfires that swept through Fort McMurray this spring I have found a new appreciation and deeper respect for the women and men who climb their towers several times throughout the day to scan the forest surrounding them for any indication of flames – whether caused by lightning strike or the careless act of a human being.  These men and women are our first line of defense against the ravages of wildfires. It is they who first sound the alarm, these sentinels of the forest green. I salute them and I thank them for their vigilance and perseverance, these unsung heroes.