This morning Chip looked at the fur dust bunnies swirling around the kitchen floor and said, ” What if they discover that golden retriever hair cures the Corona virus? Then we can open a health spa.” I’m glad he’s laughing. Chip is stressed for all kinds of good reasons. The family, young and old. Our town. We own a small business. What will happen? How long will this last? The lumberyard is still open, carefully, and with lots of hand washing and six feet between everyone. It’s an essential service, he says. Pipes break. Roofs leak. People stuck at home may need to paint a  room to keep them from going bonkers.

On the radio this morning the mayor reminded everyone who has been out of town to self isolate for 14 days. That’s me, and I’m happy to. Haines has more senior citizens than any other town in Alaska per capita. I want to keep them safe (or should I say us? I am 60, a very YOUNG 60, but still, that is the high risk cut off age.) One of my grandchildren has asthma and it flares when she catches a cold. We have to keep her healthy. People are volunteering to drop off groceries and pick up mail for the newly arrived and wisely house bound, and for the seniors and other at risk folks.The governor closed all the bars and eateries for anything except take-out, and most of the shops are closed too, as well as the school, library, pool, museum, Chilkat Center– so no yoga, choir, or church. The radio staff can still use the Chilkat Center, so that we have news, entertainment, and important announcements (Marley just reminded us to wash our hands again.) Canada even closed the border to non-essential travel.

 

It helps that the weather is beautiful and summer is on the way. Walks on the beach are still allowed and encouraged. Yesterday Eliza and I took the kids to North Douglas. This morning my friend Beth and I walked here, with about ten feet between us. We had to speak loudly, but it was just us, as we shared all the stories we missed while I was away, or at least a few of them. There’s medicine in fresh air and sunshine. When I returned home I felt much better, and FaceTimed with JJ and the new baby and then another friend called. She too has just returned from a trip with her mother. She  asked her mom to stay with her for the quarentine, so they’d be together, but she declined. “She has her sewing, and her own space, and she loves that.” She takes drives to the beach, too.

Who wouldn’t love a staycation?

That’s not exactly what this is though, is it?

I’m scared. I can’t help it. Yesterday this anxious feeling in my chest was so bad that I ran away from Eliza’s car and the redheads in the back seat rather than say a proper goodbye at the airport. I pulled my hat over my face and cried on the plane imagining I may never see them again. At least the stretched wool kept me from inhaling any stray virus germs.

Worry will not change anything about any of this, will it?

Thank God for the melting snow, for long spring days, a full freezer, chicken eggs, shedding dogs who want another walk, FaceTime, dorky country music on the radio, people doing right by each other in this little town and all over the world, and all that sun shining through those filthy windows. I’ve got work to do. Time to buck up, and as my daughters say, put on my big girl pants. (And don’t even say it. I know. Find the good.)  I’m going to try to be more like my friend’s mom. She has a new quilting project she can’t wait to work on.  I have four typewriters and know dozens of people  who would love opening a letter.