Last night as I lay in bed, questions that I couldn’t answer jockeyed for position. I saw them, strings of words in my head, moving fast on a circular course but continually bumped away by other questions. The inside of my head felt large and hollow—host to a thousand questions. I wasn’t dreaming. I hadn’t imbibed or ingested. I was in a comfortable bed and, with some luck, I’d be there in the morning when my husband brought me a mug of very hot French Roast with just the right amount of milk. I know about the bright side of being alive in a pandemic. I can go there. People put teddy bears in their front windows, and children make a game of discovering or counting them. Online book clubs surge, people walk their dogs more, and the comics are hilarious. Carbon emissions have suddenly dropped. We wave at our friends online. We’re pulling together. Hey, neighbor! But underneath the surface are endless portents: doctors having their wills drawn up, the insidious droplets, our relatives alone and lonely, neighborhood businesses shuttered, the madman in the big white house, and the coffins, always the coffins. It’s a pandemic. I attempt to “stay safe” and remind others to do so. Someday when this is over, I’ll walk to the coffee shop, sit outside, and put my face up to the sun. Maybe the questions will stop circulating. In the meantime, I’m trying to turn the questions that loop through my head into words of hope.
Photo: Aaron Burden (https://aaronburden.com)