When All This Is (Over).
April 30th is the new end in sight, and while we are glad to have an end in sight, we are preparing ourselves for no end. We are fortunate to have a set of parents between us who welcomed us in for quarantine, lets us eat all their food, and stream their Netflix when the mood hits. But the mood isn't hitting all that often. Mostly, we walk our dogs, we try and hawk our wares long distance, and we write songs. Because we also fortunately have had folks commissioning songs.
Over the last couple weeks, we've written a song for a couple with a cancelled 39th anniversary cruise, a song for a favorite music series that is temporarily out of commission, a song for hope that things will come back around again. This week on Double Americana and officially on Friday on Bandcamp, we are releasing the one we wrote for foiled birthday plans-- a pal who planned to take his gal for a tour-de-cheesesteak in Philly, only to contract the virus himself and have the world go on lockdown. Plans were off. Everyone's plans are off. (Our pal is okay, by the way).
The song is called "When It's Over," and for a cutesy love song, it came out a bit more somber than we'd intended. It relays everything we're gonna do right as soon as we can do it right again. At least, as right as we can make it. Or, when we remember. Because that's kind of the thing about waiting until it's over. Your forget about what is.
This isn't a vacation. It's not a choice. It's a national and global emergency. There are people fighting to get better, people fighting for their lives, and people fighting for other people's lives. And for the rest of us, there is just time. Sure, it's inconvenient, Sure, Grandma is going to argue with you about it while you attempt for the 5th time in a day to explain why she can't go to Walmart. But this has never happened to any of us before. Never. Not in our living lifetime.
And so, while we are waiting for it to be over, we are also sitting squarely in it. Some of us are looking for distractions. Some of us are finding reflection.
Last year, at the height of our travel, we came to an exhausted conclusion that something had to give. A break or a shift or a year of Jubilee. It'd been an unsettling mantra as we kept pushing forward-- the housing market inflating, the gas prices climbing, the internet getting meme-ier. We couldn't have expected this. But something did break. And as quickly as we want for this virus to go away, for no one else to be sick, there is no cure and no help we can give but isolation and time.
And that is the only help we can give ourselves, too.
I nearly cried at the sight of Scott walking in the sun, work clothes on, out to help his dad with the tractor. This person who has gone through everything in the last decade with me. This person with his own thoughts, cooped up when we were meant to run free, walking across green grass under a California sky. The big stupid beauty of it all was too much. But instead of breaking, instead of running out to squeeze his cute little tuchus, instead of turning away to avoid the inevitably conflicting feelings of being in love and being afraid of losing love, instead of waiting for or forcing it to be over, I just stood with it. I think the feeling that I landed on when I waited was gratitude. And maybe loneliness. These aren't feelings I ever have the time to sit in. So when Magpie came paw-pawing at the door looking for me, it felt as though time itself was running its course. I let her in. The loneliness was gone, but the gratitude I kept.
I know there are lots of people fighting loneliness. Soon, it will be over. But maybe somewhere here in the middle, we can just sit with it. Maybe here, in this worldwide deep breath, we can still find signs of life and gratitude that we can sock away for later. When it's over. Or maybe we should just indulge in it now.
Scott came to the door with his garden gloved hands cupped. This is one of my favorite games. We don't play it very often anymore. We're too busy.
"Is it a mouse?"
"No," he says.
"No," he says, opening his hands a little. "It's a blue bellied lizard."
"It is the cutest lizard I have ever met."
He lets it go.
"He's a free lizard, now."
I felt a little loss. Lizards aren't so different from time. Neither of them belong to us. So it's best to appreciate them while they are there in front of you.