cronechronicler

You don't know where you are going. You don't know how to get there. And you arrive just the same. Ghanaian saying

Hauiku: Silent Spring Redux

Birdsong welcomes Spring
Amidst uncommon stillness
Human voices quiet

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Nero Fiddles On

At breakfast time this morning the noise began. Lately the hardware store that backs up to the street behind my apartment has been repairing damage caused by a van making deliveries to the Dollar Store next door. The side mirror of the van clipped one of the wooden posts supporting the roof of the hardware store’s loading dock and the roof collapsed. But this noise sounded different.

One of my favorite things about the apartment building I live in is the swimming pool behind it. The word game ladies and I play at a table under a tree beside the water, people do group exercises and swim laps, children splash and some people just sun bathe. It is getting old, like so many of us. The concrete surrounding the pool is broken and wobbly to walk on. The management has decided to build a new pool. The noise I hear is the buzz saw breaking up the cracked concrete around the pool.

We didn’t know when construction would begin. And here in the middle of the week when the stock market keeps threatening to crash, and our ordinary days have been restructured to keep us home and safe from the coronavirus, they are breaking ground for our promised swimming pool. It is an unnecessary luxury, though it keeps construction workers employed. And it somehow brings to my mind Nero fiddling while Rome was burning.

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Unfolding of a New Lifestyle

Last Monday I received wonderful news that I did not have a serious health problem my doctor had tested me for. It was like I could begin the process of a positive new beginning. Then by week’s end the coronavirus arrived in Cleveland and life made an abrupt about-face.

This past Saturday the newspaper reported a run on toilet paper and other necessities at the big box stores. I dropped the paper, put on some clothes and headed to a nearby drugstore. I was able to buy a six roll pack of toilet paper and thought that would tide me over. I noticed employees checking partly empty shelves and making lists. Curious. The next day the Sunday paper did not include the usual advertising circulars. And there was a front page story of the empty shelves at drug stores and groceries all over the city. Empty shelves explained the absence of advertising. I went to the grocery store and got one of their last packages of toilet paper – along with bread, milk and grapefruit.

Sunday afternoon the usual six or seven women gathered to play our Scrabble-like card game. We decided that with so many of the places we regularly go being closed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus we would play our game every afternoon. We put up a flyer inviting others to join us, offering to teach people how to play if they didn’t know how. Finally, a bit of sanity and fun.

Checking my shelves for things I would need to stay healthy I found I had ninety individual packets of hand sanitizer left over from my travelling abroad days. And lots of toothpaste and soap. I found a silver lining to Amazon’s selling many things only in bulk.

My son told me his way of being safe in the grocery store. He suggested I use the hand sanitizer they have by the front door and then put on gloves to wear while shopping. I must discard my gloves and wash my hands after I leave the store. I tried this with only one hitch. When checking out, after I put my credit card in the slot, I must press “yes” to say I agree with the amount they are charging me. I couldn’t make the device respond. The cashier told me I had to take off my glove and press it. I did. So much for being germ-free.

Lastly, here’s a final note of changes to come as I live into my new lifestyle. I received an email from the person who cuts my hair saying she is closing her shop for the duration. I have worn my hair quite short for longer than I can remember. I’m really curious to see how it will look whenever the duration is over.

I am praying for people everywhere frightened of the days ahead and for people and their families who become infected by the coronavirus. I pray for myself to stay healthy, and to not become a carrier. I mourn the dead.

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