In the pandemic there is pandemonium. Except there isn’t. Mostly there is boredom. Some of us keep working through erratic remote access. Others are left abruptly unemployed. Many of us share awkward conference calls and unflattering video ones. Some scramble through days gone harried, trying to function while keeping six feet apart. We all sit, isolated, scrolling through social media, watching Netflix, and drinking too much wine.
At least that is the story we tell each other.
The truth is more complex. Our boredom is freighted with fear. We wash our hands, prepare meals, eat, and wash our hands again. We don't sleep well. The familiar scenery outside the door simmers with threat. Our plans have evaporated and the future stretches blank and unknown, its edges a hazy horizon. We are locked down with our nearest and dearest, some of whom turn out to be too near and less dear than we’d hoped.
What is left? The confines of our mind are not always a pretty places.
It snowed today. When I woke at 5:30 the porch was speckled with white chips of ice and by 7:00 the entire yard was covered with cold white. Overnight, the last annuals lost their lingering green, leaving behind only empty branches, curled and brown. The house is very quiet. The dog isn’t snoring in Ryan’s bed, the sound of her nails doesn’t clack against the hardwood floor. They’ve grown quickly recently, her nails, as if making up for all the other ways her body is failing.
When the muses refuse to come out and play, free writes are one strategy to try and trick them into coming back. Sometimes I use prompts, sometimes I just start putting words down on a page. The short pieces posted here are some of my favorites and, yeah, I spent way too much time finding photos to go with them. Shout out to pixabay, openphoto, and stocksnap.io for their huge array of copywrite free images.