In the Still of the Night

This is the seventh day post-onset of Covid syptoms.  I’m eating grapes, surveying my messy tiny house, and feeling grateful.

I take my last Paxlovid dose this evening.  I plan to return to work tomorrow.  I’ve lost a total of seven pounds and still have not resumed my customary caffeine intake.  I haven’t worn anything more challenging than loose dresses and nightgowns since I collapsed into bed last Monday.  I have read two more novels, including the last Montalbano case which I found even stranger than the preceding twenty-seven.  

I spent the pandemic in a bubble.  I live in a community consisting of many conservative thinkers peppered with a smattering of liberals such as myself and a few folks that I would label libertarian.  As a consequence, I experienced a lot of virus denial, resistance to masking or vaccination, and the occasional scofflaw who freely wandered despite reports of their active illness.  I love my neighbors, please make no mistake — but my survival to July 2023 without contracting Covid might be a minor miracle.  It’s certainly a tribute to my own early vaccination and moderately diligent precautions.

I also worked through the pandemic.  We closed to clients and lost our receptionist to age-mandated lockdown, but the two of us persisted.  The California lawyer for whom I work had two Covid bouts, one quite serious.  But I escaped.

I watched clips on the internet of the Covid response around the globe.  I cheered hospital workers, mourned children whom I had never met, and called my son sobbing when I heard about John Prine.  I’ve pored over a Kansas City friend’s anguished reports about the challenges of long covid.  I cancelled a planned holiday trip as a result of Rachel Maddow’s impassioned, desperate description of her beloved partner’s near-death from cornovirus.  Through all of that, I remained unscathed until now, two months after the official end of the pandemic.

Last evening, I sat on my new porch contemplating the sky.  Glimmers of crimson rays rippled across the evening clouds on the southern span, but above me the blue persisted.  Our usual breeze wended its way through the treetops and the long fronds of the willows in our meadow.  Clad in a cotton dress and my wool clogs, I held a tin of my customary night-time drink, cold Icelandic Spring water.  A momentary glitch in the electric grid brought stillness as music fell silent, just before generators revved to fill the void.  I closed my eyes.

As many writers must surely do, I find comfort in the lyrical words of those more skilled in our craft than I.   The gentle rock of my little blue chair eased my spirit.  Quotes  drifted through my mind as I rested.  From the BBC production of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius:  “Some say that I am half-witted; that might be so.  How is it then that I have survived to middle-age with only half my wits, while thousands around me have died with all of theirs intact?  Evidently quality of wits is more important than quantity.

I smiled.  I told myself not to be arrogant.  I thought of my little brother, dead these twenty-six years.  I quoted a passage from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince at his memorial service, standing at a podium nearly my height, barely able to speak above a whisper.  The fox has asked the Little Prince to tame him; and the Little Prince has done so.  Then it comes time for the Little Prince to depart.  “Ah,” said the fox.  “Now I shall cry.”  I thought of the Little Prince, and the tears of the fox, and death, and sorrow.  In the stillness of the gathering night,  I rocked. I drank cool water.  I felt the wind on my face.  I raised my eyes to the sky.  A veil of hope fell over me.  I would not be surprised to learn that for a blissful few moments, I slept.

It’s the thirty-first day of the one-hundred and fifteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Today is the last day to be part of my July fundraising.  New charity announced after tomorrow.  Thank you.

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