“Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history,” President Kennedy said.
I sense the uncertainty. Working from home for weeks now, my schedule is less structured. I have no idea if it’s Saturday afternoon or Tuesday morning – it’s all a blur. I actually have a sweatshirt with “Yes! Weekend” printed on it that I make sure is clean on Friday afternoon. The laundry is another article altogether - you’d think I’d manage to keep up with it, given I have no excuse for not grabbing it out of the dryer, still warm, folding it and putting it up immediately. But I don’t. It’s overrunning the enormous woven basket that used to be a semi-attractive feature in my bedroom.
It’s not just the laundry I can’t keep up with. I don’t think about lunch until it’s too late to defrost soup or consider anything but peanut butter sandwiches again. I could be learning to play that ukulele I bought five years ago. I actually got it out of its box and sat on the front stoop on a beautiful sunny day and plucked at all four of the strings. I was not inspired.
What else? I have a gazillion books I want to read. I skim the first few pages over and over, wondering what I just read as I wring my hands.
Watching “Ozark” is the only thing that placates me, lets me get out of my head. That family is in too deep and in sooooo much trouble. If you’re familiar with haggard, unkempt, straggly haired Darlene Snell on that show, know she looks much better than I do.
The truth is, I’m too scared of the danger and uncertainty to tap into any remnant of creative energy, including hair and makeup. I received a set of watercolors and brushes for my birthday, and intended to tackle another thing on my bucket list.
But I feel defeated before I even set out. Halfway frozen on the inside, I’m scared for my precious first granddaughter who is not even three weeks old. I wear a mask when I visit her, hoping my eyes look friendly as I coo to her. I’m scared for my loveable mother, who hugs everyone. I’m scared for my husband, who doesn’t have a spleen to fight infection, and I’m scared for my own self.
So, I salute the folks who undoubtedly feel the same way regarding this fearful, unprecedented time, but bravely carry on. They are the ones who shine brightly during a dark time. Dr. Elizabeth Forrester volunteers her time after working all day at Baylor School to produce invaluable COVID-19 testing. Folks root through attics and closets to find Teddy bears to post in the window, a playful beacon for children to spot while life as they knew it changed overnight. People reach out to help those who are alone, dropping notes and bouquets at their doorsteps. A neighborhood walks outdoors to sing hymns and light candles on Easter Eve as violinists play from their porch. Folks decorate cars and wear crazy hats and honk their horns while they sing “Happy Birthday” to children who can’t celebrate their birthdays with the party they’d planned.
This time is interesting, to say the least. I am awed by my heroic fellow humans who suck it up and share their creative energy, shining their light and showing me the way through this unsettling time.
(Ferris Robinson is the author of two children's books, "The Queen Who Banished Bugs" and "The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds," in her pollinator series, with "Call Me Arthropod" coming soon. "Making Arrangements" is her first novel, and "Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity" is a collection of true tales about man's best friend. Her website is ferrisrobinson.com. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror. Ferris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org )