The End of the Beginning

April 16, 2020 (better late than never)

Staying in, as I’ve come to realize, is a necessary task that keeps us all “safer at home”.  But there’s a part of my brain that insists on treating it like a game, Mary Poppins-style.  How long can I go without encountering another person? How many nutritional meals can I create with only the food in my house?  For the first time in weeks, I feel confident in my ability to make it through.

I’ve assigned myself a few jobs, all fun: blogging, working through my reading list, starting a modest garden.  I’m writing and mailing cards to one or two friends each day. (If you were to read all these notes, you’d see them growing sappier in proportion to my positive attitude.)  And thanks in no small part to the federal government, I am financially stable. So why not walk down to the river to sit among the geese, glorying in the sunshine?

Then I learn that Governor Evers has extended his Safer-at-Home Order until May 26.

When the news arrives on my phone, I re-read it in case I misunderstood. I didn’t: Wisconsinites must tack another month on to the half month we still had left. While the concept isn’t new to me, I think I must have been in denial. Until the official announcement, there was still the small, absurd possibility that everything would resume on May the first. Now finality — and with it reality — has set in.

Let me be clear: I don’t dispute the need for aggressive social distancing (what a phrase!). But I’m grateful for my newfound positivity, as I suspect I’m going to need it.

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