I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

I asked Chip if we should still have ham for Easter,  since it’s just us, and not the usual crowd of family and friends, and he said we could wait and see what’s happening by then. “It’s Sunday,” I said.

“This Sunday?”

“Yes, last Sunday was Palm Sunday.”

He does not like Zoom church, or for that matter Zoom anything. On Sundays while I’m singing the hymns at my desk, he has been working on next winter’s firewood. It’s away from the news, and a hard job that takes attention, and for him it may even be a meditation. It’s so hopeful and practical. He’s filling the wood shed for another season.

He has been at work at the lumberyard too  everyday, wearing a mask, keeping customers out of his hardware store, while still waiting on them in the parking lot. He sees town in the way I don’t right now, being home, sheltering, following the strict local rules to keep everyone safe. I think we all are, and I think that’s why there are no cases of the virus here. Yet? One member of a household in the town is enough. I order groceries once a week, and he picks them up. (Then they stay in the mud room overnight and then I disinfect them.) I need half & half, vegetables, apples, and cheese. It would be nice to have some flour, I’m down to about a cup, but there hasn’t been any for three weeks. His customers need plumbing parts, and light bulbs, and the work. Carpenters are good at social distancing. “Everyone is being very careful,” Chip assures me. Washing hands, wearing masks, staying back. When he comes home, he takes a shower right away and drops his clothes in the washer, and then I clorox spray all the door knobs. I have never been so OCD.

Yesterday I took a fast from the news. It has been a lot. I felt better.  But this morning I checked.

Here in the panhandle, it’s holding steady with 14 in Ketchikan still and 14 in Juneau. Petersburg has one now. I think. (A Petersburg man died from the virus, but he was in a Seattle nursing home. He was still one of us though– an Alaskan– and now he’s gone.)But my friend in Juneau and his partner who had it are very much on the mend. It has passed through them. They are waiting to learn how to re-enter their world post-virus, safely.

Tonight we are having the Maundy Thursday service on Zoom. If you think Palm Sunday without the kids whacking each other with palms, the procession and ringing of the bells and singing All Glory Laud and Honor was different, tonight will be an even bigger change. This is the service that commemorates the last supper, when Jesus said goodbye to his friends and disciples, so there is communion- the first one– a cup with wine and bread, all shared to remember him by, and it also includes the ritual washing of feet by the priest. We take off our shoes and she washes our feet and dries them with a towel. It’s awfully  intimate, especially for Episcopalians who aren’t all that touchy.  Some people choose not to, and that’s okay, too. Jesus did this to remind his friends that to follow him you must serve people. That we are all equal in God’s eyes. It is in this service that we celebrate his words, ” I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.”

Honestly? I never really liked the foot washing. It makes me twitch. You don’t miss your water til your well runs dry do you? This year I wish I could particpate in that service. Touching one another is something we can’t do now. But we all are getting daily lessons in what it means to serve each other, and love each other, aren’t we? Face masks are the new valentines.

I am thinking of that map on my iPad. And of the grandpa in Petersburg and his family that won’t see him again, and  of the families of the other  six Alaskans that have died, and it seems pretty clear, that baked ham or foot washing aside( or this year not),  the way to love one another right now, is to stay home, maybe spilt a little wood on Sunday afternoon, and  take a walk on the beach, counting our blessings, and looking forward to next Easter when this will be over.  Also, ham is not my favorite. It’s tradition is all. If the weather is good, yesterday’s snow should be all melted off– we can we sit on the deck and grill deer steaks, and maybe there’s still some asparagus in town. I’ll put it on my list and see what happens.

(One more thing: Thank you for letting me keep you company, and keeping me company while I read Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs. There are four chapters now at the “Videos” tab. I am not sending out a blog each time I post one anymore, but they should be up most evenings. Feel free to share them. I’m trying to read one daily. Thank you too, for the nice notes, I’ll do my best to respond to all of them.)