During these pandemic days of summer, I'm living a safely isolated life on a shore, near water.
Safe. Isolated. Away from my safely isolated kids, my newborn grandson, my close family and friends. Being careful and responsible. Sigh.
Living an isolated life means you have a lot of time to think about things, especially during a period packed with so much fear, so many unknowns. When listening to or reading the news is like submitting to a daily bludgeoning. When it feels like there’s no end in sight.
Yes, it makes you think. Sometimes too much.
Right now, the best place for me to think is near water. What is it about staring out at unknown depths that helps me find comfort? Maybe it’s the feeling of permanence along with change – waves, tides, horizon, sky. Day in, day out, but every time I look, the scene transforms.
“The people along the sand,” wrote Robert Frost, “All turn and look one way. They turn their back on the land. They look at the sea all day.”
That’s me. Staring out at the sea and wondering when this fraught pandemic time will ease back into something approaching normal – or, as I like to call it, The Beforetime.
“They cannot look out far. They cannot look in deep,” Frost wrote. “But when was that ever a bar to any watch they keep?”
Lots of questions, and few answers, but people just turn away from “the land” – a stark, unchanging reality – and keep looking, hoping, believing that the answers are out there.
Or in the context of pandemic times, that we’ll learn to live safely with the virus, find a vaccine, kick its butt, get on with “normal” life and leave this “land” behind us.
Until then, like Frost’s “people along the sand”, I’ll turn my back on the land, do my part, and keep watch for something better.