Covid Time

May 24, 2020

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By Lucinda Winslow

It has been ten weeks since the state of Connecticut shut down.  Ten weeks since I have seen the lovely faces of my students, both at the studio and at Creative Learning. Longer since I have seen faces of my beloveds in Minnesota and California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Washington State. How about you? How are you doing in Covid Time?

Some seasons last longer than others. Under the pandemic pall, Spring has stretched from late winter and dead grass into mid spring, past lilacs, tulips and daffodils into early summer's dogwoods, lilies, peonies and verdant lawns. Midsommer and the longest day of the year are but weeks away. 

But that's earth time.   The minutes of Covid-time have stretched eons longer than mere moving from coats to sweaters to short sleeves. In soul time, emotional time, we are already wintering again, old and graying.

In this time we have all experienced encounters with new freedoms, terrible constraints and impossible endings. So many deaths, so many jobs and careers lost. Lives dreamed of --aborted. I don't know about you, but lately music feels either compulsory, the only thing--that favorite piece, singing at top voice along with beloved songs and musicals, dancing along. Or, at other instants, music feels forbidden, too close to the heart's mourning.   Then, the only thing is to let silence, the sweep of wind in pines, birdsong, be what I take in.  Allowing the great Silence to soothe me.  Its sweet Presence to heal.

Then, with no notice, restless music-less pressure arises to force the future into appearing, shake the cage and compel this whole mess to resolve.  Happy ending. Sad ending. But signed, sealed, delivered and done. I read every pundit casting their fortune sticks of divination, prying and peeking over the edges of the cloister walls of our containment, promising a view of what might be.  I strain for an answer, to feel safe. But answers dire or sanguine change by the day. No safety there.

So what are you, Covid Time?  Never seen the likes of you.  You're a lifetime's one-off terror.   Invisibly invading and upending and overturning all we have known.  Slicing us apart, one from the other. You move to a new beat.  Each note and phrase is dissonant, screaming our hair off.   You're panned by all the critics, but you go on. Can we bear it? Can I?

Wrung out, I throw myself in a summer wicker chair. And give in. Wind chimes clang in the May breeze, one at each end of the porch.  A neighbor's dog howls. Peacocks mewl through the woods.  Really. A lawnmower hums at dusk. My heart consents to beat once then again.  Grasses bend in the summer twilight.   Didn't a poet once say all we need to do is to come Here, and we will discover we are not after all lost, but found?

Covid time.  It's the time we have for now. How will it unfold?  That’s not up to us. So can we say hello, allow it into our house, give it a drink, listen to what it has to say for itself?  And trust, somewhere, somehow, it may ready us for a new time, a new music. Can we?  Can I?