Saturday, March 21, 2020–I wallowed in bed this morning. Four-thirty had me looking at my watch on the nightstand; in typical Jared world that is a normal-ish time to wake naturally. Usually a half hour of indecision follows before sitting myself up, pulling on some pants and seeking out a shirt. Mornings are generally easy for me. Time is precious and getting things done early sets me up for a successful and productive day. Sometimes that is early morning drywalling and other times it is writing performance evaluations for work and other times it is sitting down to write. This morning however was different. Sure it was a weekend, but “weekends” are usually anything but lazy: climbing, house projects, yard work, etc.
This morning, my world felt different. The past five days of 11 plus hour work days, days spent dialing numbers, leaving messages, talking to parents, debriefing students, talking with instructors, and generally working to successfully and safely (time will tell) transition 75 or so students from their NOLS courses back to the places from which they came, felt grounding (if not surreal) and purposeful (if not disappointing.) But that is over, that is done.
In some ways this morning was my Day One. There was no “connectivity” by my bed. I couldn’t immerse or escape. I tossed and turned. Laying on my stomach hurt my back. Laying on my back is most comfortable, but restlessness had me moving. I had no purpose, I had no job, there was nothing to ground me, to keep a semblance of “normalcy” (and while I know, “normal” was not working for the world, so we don’t want to return there, I will use it anyway) in my life. I watched the light of day creep into my room. The 6:15 beeps went off. Then the 6:55 beeps, both unchanged reminders of a previous life and time: one with MSR stoves, horses, and mountains. The “what next” and “what now” and “what if” thoughts all came and went in their own time. I recognized my privilege, thought of my mother, brother, aunts, uncles, and loved ones and acknowledged their vulnerabilities. The previous day Facebook had me reading a post from Backcountry Magazine (thanks Roger Yim) by a split boarder who contracted the first case of COVID-19 in Leavenworth, WA (a place where numerous friends reside). It was from a 29 year old male, the classic high risk group for anything due to ill-conceived notions of invulnerability. I thought about my vulnerabilities, my weakness. I thought about my privilege some more, recognizing that I will likely get through this, both economically and physically. It will hurt in both and likely leave scars, but I will likely be better off than many. I wallowed in bed. Last night I hadn’t made a list of things to do this day as was my usual habit; where to start was a thinking on my feet mystery that wasn’t at the forefront of my mind.
I looked through the bedroom door and the brightest of sunshine lay in squares on my kitchen floor. I felt excited. This is why I liked my kitchen; this is why I liked my house. The sunlight gave me motivation. I pulled on my old pants so fast my foot went squarely through the hole in the knee, ripping them even more. Tea; this light, this morning called for tea. I bathed in the warmth of the sunlight for a moment before grabbing my cast iron pot and adding the ingredients for masala chai. Writing: this sunlight, this day called for writing. I grabbed a notebook off my night stand wrote the date. “I guess this is my Day One…” I scribbled lightly with a pencil. I picked up a connected device and tried to search a meme that I had heard about the day prior: five things The Corona has taught us thus far. I didn’t have any luck but stumbled across a article that gave me hope. My mind works in mysterious ways, but when I thought of hope, I started singing Widespread Panic’s Hope in a Hopeless World, which prompted me to find it on my iPod and put it on. I poured the boiling pot of tea into Kat’s homemade mug and stood again, awash in sunlight, feeling the warmth in direct contrast to the 50º ambient house temperature.
Time still feels precious though. I feel like I need to rush through things, write this quickly, move on and get to the next project. That is not my reality. The sun is rising straight above my neighbors back door. I pulled a seat into the middle of my mudroom, positioned a paint bucket to support the mouse pad (my track pad has lost its ability to click) and a 12 pack of Coors to hold my tea, and started pecking away at this post.
This morning, my Day One, I felt hope. I felt hope for humanity, for Empathy, for the relevance of the work that I do. I felt hope, because my neighbor set-up sawhorses and started making a Free Food Box. Tomorrow will be different, but the moment, the sunlight, that is what we have. Relish it while it blesses us.
Featured Image: Cassidy building a Free Food Box for the corner of Washakie and 6th. PC: Jonah