Going Quiet

My lock down did not come in 2020. It came in late 2017, when nine metal screws held the bones of my shattered upper arm in place to a titanium bracket. I spent the next four months in physical therapy for my shoulder and hand and the rest of the time in bed. I was not allowed to drive. I spent most of 2018 trying to forget about the pain by reading constantly. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time thinking; I spent no time creating. It’s amazing what you can’t do when you don’t have the use of your dominant hand and arm. I couldn’t write – (I’d also broken my thumb) but fortunately I could still type – which allowed me to continue teaching online. A beat was never missed.

In the autumn of 2019 I tried to re-join the world by working out with a trainer trying to get back into some semblance of shape. The adhesions in my arm were tolerable to a point and getting stronger seemed the only way to improve my life.

When 2020 hit, our family was in full stride. My husband and I had just returned from a respite in Tucson when everything seemed to lock down. I wasn’t trying to suddenly “get” my courses online because they were online. It felt strange when so many were desperately trying to put their learning online. My courses have taken years of finessing to get them just right. I couldn’t imagine trying to do it in a few weeks, but there was no way to help.

Suddenly, we had so many people in our neighborhood that I’d never seen before. Dogs started getting walked two or three times a day! But after a while, online learning and Zoom meetings seemed to make everyone weary, and we all yearned for more personal contact. This is no great personal insight. It’s what most of us went through.

We had a couple of incidents during this time and on separate occasions two gallbladders out of three in our family were now gone. (I felt we should have gotten a two-for-one special!) No concerts, no travel to concerts, only broadcasts – often from people’s closets. Once the gym opened up my trainer cajoled me into going back into training – but with a mask, which I still wear. By then, my husband and I had worn out our treadmill and stationery bike. We had to replace them both.

We are incredibly lucky. We were used to being and doing things at home. We stayed there and hunkered down. In the first years of his life, my son was in and out of the hospital, and was quarantined every winter. We already knew how much we could lose. For us, when two of us got Covid at Christmas, in 2021, it was not the death sentence it was sure to have been if my son had gotten it earlier – before vaccines. And because of this, I am incredibly grateful.

Did we grow during this time? Probably not in the way I would have thought. We became more patient and began to appreciate each other more. Life got quieter. We had more time to be together without having to race off to an event. We had time to just be.


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