here i am, moving through the days spent at home. aware of the pandemic. mindful of keeping myself and others safe. doing my part to hold the course. avoiding the news, which can be unsettling, and frankly irritating. i do surface from time to time to check in on the world at large, but mostly i busy myself with small acts of domesticity. cooking, books, window gazing, strolling in the garden, drifting from porch to patio to desk to chair.
my morning walks have become one of my greatest pleasures these days. lately, i just take my apple watch and airpods so i can listen to music while i hustle. i’m trying to increase my speed (from slowest to slower) and keep my heart rate up. i leave my phone behind because it was becoming a distraction. i got my apple watch recently – series 3 with no cellular – something to replace my fitbit. i used to focus on the steps and always felt i was coming up short, but now i focus on closing the green exercise ring and that feels both harder and easier at the same time. i feel such a sense of accomplishment when i close all 3 of the rings on my watch face. so motivating!
behind my daily pleasures there is a sense that i shouldn’t be enjoying myself this much, but i dismiss that as a false thought. mental garbage. to be deposited in commode and flushed.
one recent day i pushed the orange chair into the living room and out of the art room where it had been for at least a decade. that caused me to clean the floors and rugs, but since then my housekeeping skills haven’t been getting much of a workout. who cares? things are tidy enough, but no deep cleans have occurred yet. maybe in june! maybe never. we’ll see. i’m open to being struck my inspiration at any moment.
as for school, i am conducting my class virtually, but that has its limitations. the most important thing a child can learn during time away from school is how much one’s own curiosity and interest in the world drives their own learning. i talk about it constantly in the classroom, but it falls mostly on deaf ears. “the most important things you will ever learn will not happen in school.” how often i have said it. as i near the end of my teaching career and have less and less to lose (hah) i sense my impending interest in teaching, not reading and writing and arithmetic, but philosophy. i shall preach the gospel of letting one’s curiosity lead oneself on a path of deep satisfaction. how to be present in the world. let’s sit quietly and breathe now. let’s climb into a magic school bus and take a trip to a forest. an ocean. conduct yourselves appropriately. or not. if you misbehave you will find yourself on the highway with a compass.
the pandemic has brought such a sense of tranquility to my life. with the daily mental wrestling match of classroom life put aside. i now know what i want to be in life and it is NOT in a classroom forcing little people to do things they don’t want to do. my days as a bouncer, babysitter, drill sergeant, and clown are numbered. by that i mean, retirement can’t come soon enough. i am cherishing every single one of these days. after decades of caring for the children of others i find myself alone. blissfully alone. in my own house. with my own thoughts. listening to birds at this very moment.
figure 1. evidence that my mouth took a trip to the dentist. it was unfortunate, but necessary. alas, an infection under an old crown has my mouth making 2 more trips to the dentist in the coming weeks. not an ideal situation during a pandemic, but at least my mind stays here at home where it is safe. the infection and pain are GONE. soon my mouth will be the owner of a new ceramic crown. amen. the end.
soothed by some
palm tree poetry shakespearean sonnets on a recent walk.
what delight i took in these!
there are a good many positive messages scrawled on sidewalks and taped to windows these days. i see them as i walk. i passed one house this morning where someone had written a poem-a-day outside on the walkway. it was written in white chalk. something by shel silverstein. i took a picture in my mind to show you.
when i’m not walking, wandering about the house, or cajoling students into completing more of their assignments, i am out on the porch playing with my ipad and procreate. absorbing.
on my bookshelf
i finished GREENWOOD. thoroughly satisfying. definitely recommend! currently reading MDV. so far so good. if you’re reading something unputdownable do tell.
Sharing is caring
a poem to light the way from yayoi kusama.
beautiful thoughts worth reading about LIFE in the time of the pademic.
she is teaching me to use the procreate app which i’ve had for YEARS, but haven’t used much. zillions of videos.
spring in the north of sweden. i long to return someday.
Just had to pop in to tell you how much i love your blog. It always makes me feel good. Especially now. Thank you.
Dana Barbieri says
I’m happy that you’re happy. I’m guessing school won’t exist in the same way for a long time. Our town did a teacher parade on Saturday where the teachers drove around and were waving to all of their students who lived along the route.
You described teaching so well I think. At least that was my take on it when I subbed as an aide. It was definitely not for me. My son is so happy not to have to finish his freshman year there and my daughter misses seeing her friends.
I like your views on the cleaning. With 4 of us plus 4 pets together all of the time things can get messy fast in our house but I definitely don’t worry too much about it. At least most of the time.
Enjoy the rest of your week..
Mary Ann Moss says
I think you’re right about school. Until there is a vaccine or at least adequate testing, and contact tracing, I can’t see it resuming in the usual way. Just not possible to social distance in an enclosed space with poor ventilation. Of course it wouldn’t MAKE SENSE to resume, but I predict it will anyway.
Here in the U.S.A. we have problems following common sense protocols and when the top dog sets a poor example via his briefings and incendiary tweets i can’t help but think we have a VERY VERY VERY long road ahead of us, with the virus surging and continuing to take lives. in a civil society public officials should be models of appropriate thought and action. well enough of my opinions…
i guess let’s just keep doing our best to stay apart even if others tell us to do the opposite. politicians are not scientists.
okay. getting my mind out of the gutter and back to real life which is birds, bees, nature, and solitude. xo
wendy jane austin says
Thanks for sharing the links as well as your beautiful photos. We are heading into Queensland winter. We may get a few days when we need to wear a jacket. I have felt that this isolation has been a bit like a hibernation, with my husband and son, my girls isolated in London, Brisbane and Bauhinia Downs , 8 hrs drive form here.My Nursing daughter is working in a remote hospital, small, but,as much at risk as anyone in these times.I quite like the time to do not so much, with no urge to do anything other than cook ,and garden,with random acts of spontaneous art.
Susan King says
I am reminded of Henry David Thoreau when I read this. Simply lovely. Thank you for this gift.
Vicki in Michigan says
ps — happy to see your epimedium blooming (is that the correct plant? – that fancy fuchsia-colored flower with all the pizzazz in the middle)
Vicki in Michigan says
I am glad you are happy these days. I love to hear about (and see pics of) your rambles: in the wider world, at home, in the unlimited expanse of your thoughts.
I think of getting an ipad, so I can play with it. I am eager to see more of your ipad explorations.
Waving at you from another contented quiet home!
Paulette Clayton says
Always love your posts. I remember one in particular when you used gouache and am curious to know what you think of the medium. I’m thinking of investing in a small set of tubes. Any suggestions?
When I was a child in Oregon, Burma Shave advertised with a cute jingle that was written sentence-by-sentence in a series of small road signs. They were located on rural highways, and we always read them aloud as our car drove by.
Thank you, Paulette! That was the company that produced those billboards–I couldn’t remember the name. I saw them within the last ten or fifteen years. I just looked them up and those I saw in Arizona were re-creations. They were incredibly humorous, as opposed to the poetic verses Mary Ann saw in her neighborhood. It was the sequentiality of these various instances that was so appealing.
Thanks, again, Mary Ann, for sharing, and the memories you’ve inspired!
Tina Koyama says
I don’t feel guilty about it at all! It means it was time to reassess what I was doing. When this is all over, I will not be automatically adding everything back in. I will consider each thing carefully and put back in only those things I really want — and maybe add some new things. Love all your inspiration and photos! Take care!
Two things I feel compelled to comment on – Yes, I too feel guilty for enjoying the stay at home period. I watch my PBS Newshour every evening and my Sunday CBS shows which alert me to the reality of other less fortunate people, and I let my phone news alerts distract me from better ways to use this time I’m living through. But the slow pace of life helps me notice more and appreciate my home, my health, my husband. And the second thing, I have spent so many hours on Procreate these last few weeks and trying not to let my perfectionism win…I am familiar with Bardot Brush – her brushes always get stellar reviews – but I have found Skillshare so worth the $15 a month – it also has some great Procreate classes and teachers like Liz Kohler Brown, Brooke Glaser and Charly Clements. They have been good company for leaving my comfort zone. Thanks for your book recommendations, I think you also recommended Unorthodox from Netflix. Good! I love receiving your smoke signals, for that I am also thankful.
Sally Edmonds says
I love Yayoi Kusama. What a woman/artist! I have envied her choice to live in a mental institution for the peace and tranquility, but with the freedom to come and go as she pleases. Odd but strangely comforting.. By the end of my teaching career, I was so DONE. The ridiculous expectations from the bureaucrats juxtaposed to whom my students were…and some of the parents were certifiable. It is a very hard profession indeed. I am now retired and occasionally worry a bit about my funds competing with rising prices, but just can’t go back. I care for my mother now. Love her dearly, but am longing for my freedom…someday…I’ll live under the redwoods. Take care! 😁😷
I feel guilty saying it too, but I am so content out here in the woods, not having to drive an hour everyday, to make little people jump through hoops… I’m online two hours a day with them, and I love seeing their faces .. but you are right-school, as it was, is boring as fuck, filled with at least three hours of complete bullshit and babysitting… Several of my students with autism are learning way more now than they would in the classroom through this platform… Yes, if we survive this, life will look very different for us… It already is happening… Miss you and love reading your dispatches from my former home!
Sandra L. says
Mary Ann, I think it is truly a blessing that you have discovered what you want to do with your life. I have been seeking such an answer for decades and I have not found it yet. I do feel as though I want paid employment that has more meaningfulness than what I am doing now. In the meantime, I am struggling every day with depression and anxiety. I am making art. Sometimes it helps. Around here (an area I’m not sure I want to spend the rest of my life in) I have seen no wildlife resurgence, no positive, uplifting messages, no hearts in windows for those on the front lines. My sister and brother are two of those people.
This has been a depressed, downtrodden area for years. Maybe it’s time to think about leaving. I feel like I’m pushing a boulder uphill.
Blessings to you.
I have, very often, wondered how I am in the min. when I let myself wander. I am often far away from being present with people, but am visually transfixed on the walk in the woods, a sunset or naming clouds. Hey, I am nearing 80 but have most often been “away”. Mary
That posted poem is wonderful and brought back favorite memories! In 2003, I visited Bruges, Belgium and walked all over with my sister. On one back residential street, A4 pages were posted in many of the windows down the entire street, each with a sequential short verse, written in Dutch with italic calligraphy. Each page also contained a graphic. I asked questions and eventually learned it was a memorial. I was fascinated and took pictures of each, just as you did.
Many years later, I was in Arizona, traveling from Phoenix, to the Painted Dessert, and along the way, periodically, there were advertising billboards, with very funny sayings, each building on the last.
Thanks for sharing!!!!
Mary Ann Moss says
my pleasure kristi. i like your story of found verse in bruges..how nice it is to have memories like that.
you found a shakespearean sonnet and a thank- you- nurses on your morning walk! what a neighborhood ! 👍🏼🥰
Deborah Pierro says
Good to hear from you, Mary Ann! It sure sounds like you are enjoying your life during the pandemic. I like the chair that you moved into your living room. Bright and cheerful color. I’ve done a few things on Procreate, but don’t use it that much. Take care and enjoy!