Going has been replaced with staying. Every task assigned in this time of staying is given bare boned attention, as a monk might say when you brush your teeth brush your teeth. The instructions hold up for folding pillowcases, transplanting sentry plants or washing cars. Much of what I knew as true about living in this world is from the now ended “before times,”
I didn’t characterize my previous life as being distracted. I left room in the schedule to do chores. There were routines. The dog ate each day at the same time and from the same bowl. Dogs can be such sticklers.
Potted Sentry Plant
I always thought when told to, “work hard so you can play hard,” as an excellent homily. Until my first lost summer in France I had no inkling what suckers’ American workers had been. Knowing there is a nation where its people stop everything and spend August on holiday sunbathing in the Riviera forced me to reconsider the merit of having a work ethic.
Roses need pruning, mail needs to be trekked in from the curb and a squeak in a door hinge out in the workshop is in desperate need of oiling.
Friends, family and colleagues do call. There is little time for this conviviality. Until the gutters are clean, the windows spotless and crumbs beneath the kitchen table are dispatched there is not a second to waste.
Quercus suber or Cork Oak Tree
Since receiving orders to remain in place the first error made was allowing the mind time to imagine leaving. Replaying the scene time and again the result was the same. The initial days here in the after times have been part of the “all dressed up with no place to go,” epoch.
Settling in for the long haul is rife with inaccuracies. In addition to the domestic chores there is the matter of work. Ambition, enterprise and success vary much as the weather.
Before Times with Dog
A neighborhood crow finds my juggling eye-catching. My fan lingers to watch. I enjoy speaking to birds. Results of these conversations are meager. Crows have difficulty with trust. Sweet talk is for parakeets.
Hummingbirds are free riders. Crows, jays, finches and common house sparrows have to fend for themselves. Fanciful hummingbird flight style is popular. Crows, pigeons and gulls can wear out their welcome.
Stove and Pots
Fairness is in short supply. With nowhere to go while in lockdown any bird is welcome to stop by. I find time spent admiring the less appreciated birds a worthy pastime. Putting the garbage cans out on the curb, spotting a new nest in the eaves is a major event. Whittling away time on the stoop with a pot of my grandfather’s pinto beans slow cooking on the stove soothes.