Woman Around Town has writers and readers all over the U.S. We’ve asked them to check in on how they are coping now. Robin Clark, a frequent contributor to the site, writes from Seattle, Washington.
And as the COVID-19 finds its way into our hearts, our families and our tears: I watch from Seattle…
We’re flattening in the west. Seattle, Washington started early, and our Governor Inslee hedged nothing, but believed in the power of self-quarantining, as did the residents in the state.
This is my fifth week isolated. Our streets empty; our delivery people cautious; the only normal activities I witness are the children next door, bouncing their ball against our fence, and the weekly visitor from our gardener. We have a wave at each other through the window as he grabs the envelope of money for his fee. And that is about as normal as normal is around here.
I notice I talk on my phone more; tiring of the social distancing by social media. To hear a voice is essential and I hear this from them as well. Not as many posts between those of us whom know each other in the real world…conversations deeper; laughs, harder; dreams spoken out. My husband and I kiss each other’s heads; we don’t touch each other’s hands; we watch more television than I ever thought was possible; we breathe deeply to remind our lungs that air is what they want—not fluids. We walk; where no one walks; we watch when the mail comes and watch to make sure we don’t get it while someone else is getting theirs. We read more; we cook more and of course, heavens, we eat more.
In Seattle, everyone seems to be about pick-up and delivery; almost all of our Mom and Pop restaurants have managed to stay open and keep many employed as a result. We still have big box stores open, but not without long lines with six foot distances between people—and if you drive by, you will note that most of those people are the young and healthy.
We are lucky to live ‘neath the bluest skies, in Seattle. We are lucky to have had pure air all along, being on the coast. But we aren’t so lucky to avoid COVID-19 and you do notice a bit of sadness in the faces of people whom not that long ago, lit up, if you waved at them from ‘cross the street. I notice dogs don’t run free, as they used to and I notice on our neighborhood media, many exchanging ideas for the latest from Netflix to the New York Times Best Seller.
We are a little lucky up in this corner, too, because of the annual weather. Even in our hottest summers, we are not without rains; we are used to staying in more than most, and when we go out, it is usually for nature play, short of the occasional concert or event. And I do believe, as a result, this has been a “little” easier on us as we promise our futures by self-isolating.
What alarms me the most is when I see the homeless helpers wondering where their volunteers are and there is no one to fix meals for the homeless, short of one person. A kitchen over-flowing with food, preparing to feed hundreds, but just one person to do it.
We now have prepared a make shift hospital in our Seahawks basement; we are preparing for more room, if needed. But with our flattening, (the whole west’s for that matter), we hopefully will not come to that.
People chat about how long it will take to fully recover. I now hear mentions of lost friends and family, due to the virus; I hear more political outcry, silently screaming why. And then the usual questions: How long will it take before we want to chance another event of tens of thousands of people, until we have a vaccination? How long will it take to step back into a normal life again and will normal even return; maybe the new normal is home schooling; home recreation; sharing; helping; searching for better ways to live. Maybe to enjoy greatness, an answer is to live smaller; truer. It is not just a physical life that needs healed; we all realize we have an emotional one as well, which ultimately may prove it to be more important.
Seattle is still Seattle; a city where people look beyond themselves to the other side of darkness. We all seem to know that this storm will pass, so we stay hunkered down, mask and glove up; love one another and stay in.
Photos Courtesy of Robin Clark