One year later

We are approaching the one year anniversary of first wave of pandemic shut downs in the US. It’s strange to look back and remember how utterly flabbergasted I was by the though of in-person school just ending and not coming back for a whole 6 weeks. Now, having more or less adjusted (accepted our fate), to a work from home schedule and with both children still not attending school in-person, the world as I knew it last March feels much farther away than the space of a year.

“Zen pretty much comes down to three things — everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.”

― Jane Hirshfield

Not long after the shut down I came across the quote above. I remember thinking about it and the mysterious (to me) concept of Zen, how it felt like everything had changed, seemingly overnight. Thinking about the paradox of this huge world that I suddenly felt much more connected to, even while my social circle and actual number of human interactions dramatically lessened.

Around the same time my kids and I started making stick lean-to structures around our neighborhood and alongside the creek that runs through the heart of town. We would stop and build them up one stick at a time, sometimes carefully, sometimes slapdash, balancing fallen branches and bits of twigs.

These little structures were our transitional objects, allowing us to mark a massive shift, helping us to pay attention to our inter-connectivity in a deep down under the surface kind of knowing that happens so often with art making.

In my early pandemic naivety, I tried so hard to re-create the schedule that we had lost, to bring back and impose the past on our new reality- sigh/chuckle. This was before hitting the many “pandemic walls,” before I knew it was enough to just try and make it through and [insert lessons yet to be learned]. The only thing for us to do is pay attention and it’s hard enough to be the only thing. Change will continue to happen, connection will continue to happen.