It’s a cold but clear still early morning here in the soybean field. I took Oakley for a quick run around the house just now. A little earlier I did yoga for the morning. I’m on my second cup of tea.
While it might sound pretty normal, it shapes up to be another infamous day in my life’s timeline. In an attempt to stave off the spread of COVID-19, the state of Illinois will be under a mandatory stay at home order (as in shelter in place) at 5 PM tonight. So far five people have died from it. I don’t recall the number of people who have it, but there is one reported case in my county. We’ll still be able to get out for walks as long as we observe social distancing (staying about six feet apart) and to the grocery store and medical appointments, but for the most part we’ll be working and staying home.
The announcement came during noon news yesterday. I watched the briefing later in the afternoon when Governor Pritzker announced his decision to sign the order. He’d consulted with epidemiologists, statisticians, and public health experts. After last weekend’s blatant disregard of the stay at home suggestions, he had to make it official. Not done lightly because he knew jobs were at stake, but because lives were and those are more important.
So came the news. Not with the collective shock of the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr.; not with the gasp of Nixon’s resignation; not with the violent chaos of 9/11. It’s much quieter than that, except for the hoards spilling into the street to binge shop, even though we can do that at leisure over the next couple of weeks.
Well, so be it. My first question to myself was what would my grandmothers have done, what did they do in similar circumstances.
First thing would be make sure there was enough food for everyone. We’d done a big haul/stock up the week before, so Hubby and I are set. I picked my way through traffic to the pet store where I get Oakley’s food and grabbed a few more bags in case of interruptions in the supply chain. His food is made by a Milwaukee-based company, so I doubt it, but just for my own peace of mind I went. And found out that pet stores are considered a necessary business and will be open.
Second, touch base with relatives, blood and spirit. We talked to Gram at least once a week (she lived in Massachusetts) and Grandma (across town) daily. Talked to my brother. He and Sister in Law and kids are fine. Will call my sister later today. Texted with one of my friends last night. All good so far.
Third, engage in spiritual practice. Grandma quietly prayed when she woke up, again at bed time, and as needed through the day. Gram would make coffee, then sit with her prayer book and slide the crystal blue rosary beads through her fingers as she laid her petitions at Mother Mary’s feet. I’ve meditated and done yoga. Spiritual practice doesn’t have to involve a deity of any kind; just engage in some activity that helps you feel connected to the whole.
Fourth, find something enjoyable to occupy your mind. Gram read and knitted bandages for the leper colonies that were still in existence in the post-WWII era. Grandma cooked, crocheted, and listened to the radio. I’ll find something to do. We can and will still get out for walks. And I have a stack of books to be read.
Gram and Grandma survived two world wars, the Spanish flu, and the Great Depression. They went through rationing, scrap collection, watching pennies during the Depression, and a myriad of other things with grace and strength.
I think I can stay home with the same.