I want to thank the readers who welcomed my recent post for reminding me that you’re there. Forgive me: in my silence, I’d forgotten.
There are three reasons for my silence.
First, I’ve been single tasking. Instead of writing articles, editorials and posts for many audiences, I’ve been focusing on a single project: a memoir about learning to hunt. From January through September, I wrote four drafts. At the end of October, I sent the fifth to trusted readers for feedback. In November, I hunted. Now, I’m eating venison and preparing to dive back into the book.
The second reason for my silence is fear. My anxiety about American democracy has rendered me mute, leaving me able to do little more than Chop Wood and Carry Water. I succumbed to this inarticulate anxiety about the current political divide that seems to have infected as many aspects of daily life as has COVID-19.
The pandemic is the third reason for my silence. What can I say about so much worldwide suffering, especially when my privileged life has continued quietly at home, living in place? My husband, a family physician, is exposed daily to illness of all kinds; but it’s always been that way. He’s rarely ill – but in sickness and in health – when he is, so am I.
Living in Place
When I haven’t been horrified at the number of people infected and killed by COVID-19 and distressed by the number of people who have denied the highly contagious virus and/or refused to engage in stopping its spread, I’ve been heartened to learn how the pandemic has nudged many toward living in place: toward discovering the pleasures of home, baking bread, cooking, shopping locally, learning the neighborhood – the very things I’ve been engaged with and writing about for years. (This month marks the seventh anniversary of starting this blog.)
The hardest thing about the pandemic was not seeing one of my daughters for sixteen months. The best thing about the pandemic has been learning to live a distilled life: relearning what’s essential – family and friends, books, being outdoors; what I can live with less of – driving, new clothes, in-person meetings; and what I can live without for months at a time – restaurants, theater, live music.
Explaining My Silence
I expect I will resume attending cultural activities eventually; I also suspect I will perform a cost-benefit analysis before I drive off to be entertained, making me more discriminating about which events I attend. I’d love to hear live chamber music again, or attend a thought-provoking play when the pandemic has subsided. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to another winter of moonlit evenings, ideally snowshoeing with friends before breaking bread by the outdoor fire.
By explaining my silence, I’m breaking it. Having done so, I hope I’ll again find my voice for articulating my observations about Living in Place.
Note to Readers: My computer is going in for service , so there may be a delay in responding to your comments and registration for Writing to the Light, but I’ll respond as soon as my machine is operational again. ~DLL
Click the link to learn about the free Fifth Annual Writing to the Light Workshop.