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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Covid-19: Life in the Hot Zone

March 14, 2020: One of the first school closures in the country for Covid-19.
January 19, 2020 marks when the first coronavirus victim was identified in the US in Snohomish Washington State about a 3 1/2 drive from "home." WA State raised the alarm early about the true nature of the pandemic. Still, it didn't take long to spread to the Portland metro area. Last week, nearly all schools on both sides of the Columbia river closed until late April. 
These are in scarce supply, Fortunately, most of the stores now keep sanitizers
at registers for customer use. Photo credit Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.
Social distancing and hygiene recommendations increased in volume, detail, and frequency. Hand sanitizers and wipes quickly disappeared off the shelves before stores took the initiative to request limitations. Why toilet paper and paper towels also became the items to hoard is beyond me. Do people get coronavirus up their a--? Not that I've heard! Australia, aka "Oz" seems to have cornered the market on #toiletpaperapocalypse.
Currently not feeling 100 percent. Photo credit Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.
Even free stuff can cause anxiety. Is it safe?
We're not sure whether we are infected. Is Wayne's cold just a cold? An allergy? Coronavirus? Is my very low-grade nausea nerves? Or coronavirus? We don't know. The other night Wayne told me he calmed me down from a nightmare; that I was shuddering. That's a first for me. I consider myself not that anxiety-driven, but perhaps my subconscious doesn't buy it.

We're both generally healthy. We're being careful. Little to no social contact. Definitely no touching besides with each other. I'm reasonably sure even if what we have is Covid-19 we will be done with it within another week or so. Generally, healthy folks are believed to shake it within two weeks. We have no fever. We're isolated enough we don't see a good reason to jump through lots of hoops to stress an inadequate testing system.
Random Numbers Pie on Alberta Steet, Portland. One day before the shutdown.
The numbers already thinned out.

Restaurant business dropped sharply.

This is the norm for many restaurants.
Now, except for take-out, for the most part, restaurants are shuttered. Tonight we were grateful to eat a meal from our friendly neighborhood taco truck.
Those restaurants not closing temporarily or indefinitely are offering take-out.


Today we headed back to our boat, less than one week into what would have been a five-week house-sit. We understand the pandemic is driving folks home to hunker. For the most part, other house-sits have dried up. 


The homeowners at our housesit generously offered to extend our stay at their place even after their return. We are genuinely touched by their kindness, though we are too fond of our private space.

We consider ourselves among the lucky. We can go back to our boat. Our needs are simple. Our bills are few. There's even six rolls of toilet paper aboard. We don't have a huge amount of food aboard because our storage space is limited and we brought food from the boat to our housesits. There are plenty of grocery stores nearby. Maybe we won't get our first choice for everything but cruising taught us to hone our adaptability skills.
A sidewalk mandala in the Sabin neighborhood where we just finished our house-sit.
If there is only one lesson to learn from this pandemic (besides not hogging up all the toilet paper), it's how much we are interconnected. Even separated, we're all in this together. Most of us will survive. Our lives will change in ways we didn't imagine. In the years ahead, what will we say when we look back at this period?

I'm not yet sure how I will be able to help beyond doing my part to do no harm. Maybe it's simply acknowledging this is happening, then encouraging the importance of living our lives beyond it.
Yesterday: perfect weather for kayaking with a friend. Thanks, Keith!
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those who are most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working at home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin of money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country
Let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically
Warp our arms around each other.
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.
--author unknown (posted to share outside a home in Portland's Sabin neighborhood)
Carol Mackey daphne. One of my all-time favorite scents of spring.
Coronavirus does not erase the beauty of springtime. Getting outside is still perfectly acceptable and even healthy. Reaching out to others, even digitally, is still connecting. Focusing on something other than the coronavirus is important, too.
Coronavirus or not, Darby had his priorities! We could learn something from him.
My next post will not be on the coronavirus! If you must focus on the coronavirus beyond what you need to know to stay safe, please make your addition to this social distancing playlist (and thanks Deb Blakewood for finding an earlier version of this floating on the internet).

Meanwhile, take care.


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