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Quarantine Day 24 'like Dorothy's tornado'


Last updated 4/20/2020 at 1:24pm

SharonAnn Hamilton

With Europe all-but shut down – like America – SharonAnn and Dan are filling their days with long walks, online courses like photography, and other pastimes that help make life more creative and full. Above, a photo of California poppies blooming along a wall in France.

There is a lot of time to think. Maybe too much. We usually are taking care of homes and pets, and touring several times a week. We miss the days of visits to chateaus, museums, and ancient ruins. Part of our conversation is about the way it was. Maybe that's your conversation also. It's like grandpa talking to the young ones about the "olden days." As kids, we heard the stories and wished our lives were like that.

It will never return to the way it was. Fear and death are in the air, not daily, but hourly.

Once I lived in Africa for four years. We had one temperature of water. When you read this, you think of your own home and your showers and cringe. How can it be possible to live without hot and cold water? The whole town of 120,000 people did.

The explanation is straightforward because the average year-round temperature was 100°. In the summer, we routinely had 130°, sometimes more. The town sits on bedrock under a few inches of sand and dirt. The water pipes in the ground were less than a foot deep.

Therefore, especially in summer, the pipes brought almost scalding hot water into our homes. We had to fill buckets and let them sit overnight for the water to cool down enough for a shower. We filled liter bottles with drinking water and kept them in the refrigerator. To this day, I turn on both the hot and cold faucets depending and feel grateful for cold water coming out, as well as the hot.

When the current pandemic is under control, and we step out of quarantine, I hope we will evermore be aware of personal freedom of movement. We will feel grateful to be able to meet up with our family and friends, face to face, over a meal. We will be delighted to have a meal out.

Today, there is plenty of time to get the "someday" projects completed. Do you have projects like sorting through boxes of photos, organizing cupboards and closets, choosing what to donate (if you haven't used it in a year, let it go), and piling it up for the next Salvation Army truck, fixing or tossing every broken thing?

A chipped plate or cup will never grow back, and each time you see or touch the chip, you feel a bit of irritation. The same annoyance holds with torn clothes, holey socks, or worn-out shoes. When you stop to add up all the irritants, you'll realize they drain you. These things don't serve you, and it's time to chuck them out.

We can make up our minds to come out of this lockdown more sympathetic to those who are ill (with anything) or grieving a loss. A clean and organized home space helps us feel more in control.

We become wiser because of books we have read, lighter due to healthier food and more exercise, more confident that we can rise above circumstances, happier due to being helpful to someone such as a senior or shut-in.

We can become more conscious of healing our planet, intrigued by revolutionizing our lives by working from home, experimental in the kitchen, and feeling closer to our family because of cooking and eating together. We can make a plan and prepare better in the future.

Are you creative? Of course, you are! There is time to paint or sculpt or write. I've been writing. I am happy to mention my book can be pre-ordered and will be available on April 28. My writing coach says it's "just in time." "The Secret To RIGHTsizing, A Guide To Redesigning Your Life" gives readers many inspiring stories and a roadmap for simplifying life.

You might ask what, as freewheelin' travelers, have we been doing since being quarantined? We are walking daily in the countryside, often for two hours as there is no one around. We laugh as much as possible. We plan menus and go for groceries once a week.

Learning is essential, and we are taking iPhone photography classes to make better pictures. We try new recipes. I enjoy improving my skill in making sourdough bread (it's challenging).

We read for entertainment, and we enjoy occasional meals with our hosts. We are working on a creative project together.

If there is one word that sums up our global experience of pandemic, I feel like the word uproar does an excellent job. It means "a state of commotion."

We don't see an uproar over the regular seasonal flu even though it kills more people than this virus. We don't see an uproar over deaths by snakebite or mosquitos or car accidents or suicides. We focus on what every news channel and talk show points at us.

Dan thinks I am dismissive of the facts. He says people are so overwhelmed and fearful they are in a tornado of confusion, and the virus is the wicked witch. The confinement is surreal.

What can we control? The remote? Oh, yeah, we can turn it off most of the day. The internet? Oh, yeah, we can use it to learn. Lockdown? Oh, yeah, despite the quarantine, my mind is free to create. Are our loved ones ill? Oh, we continue to pray.

Like Dorothy's tornado, we are all topsy-turvy in this new world. It's nothing like what we imagined. What's the fix? The fix is noticing and savoring the small things of life.

We walk out from our home in France and see the line of California (haha) poppies so orange and vivid. A freshly plowed field becomes a vineyard in 10 days.

We find a path through a forest that is becoming greener as the leaves develop in the sunlight of spring.

The river is a constant source of fascination, ever moving and never the same for any walk. The sun is warmer on our backs as we walk away from winter. On Easter, we went out to God's Cathedral, nature.

We can all decide in our minds and hearts to be grateful for everything in all circumstances, and enjoy peaceful sleep as we hope for a better tomorrow.


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