I’m grateful to be able to sink my ungloved hands into the moist soil of our vegetable garden where I welcome the dirt under my fingernails and even the resistance of the weeds. There is so much uncertainty right now it seems the only thing I can rely on is an overabundance of zucchini.
There is fertile ground here, too, for us as writers. Some will craft poems to capture the historical significance of the Covid-19 pandemic, its devastation and how it already has, and will likely forever, change some of our behaviors. Others may write about losing loved ones or coping with caring for family members who are ill, at-risk, or distant. So many stories are aching to be told—the stories behind the headlines and incessant tally of grief—mothers giving birth alone, cancer patients faced with deferring treatment, jobs lost, businesses shuttered, our elderly in isolation. Parents able to work from home are facing the exhausting challenge of simultaneously home-schooling their children. The points of view are endless: hospital workers, first responders, the unemployed or furloughed, teachers, children, the homeless, migrant workers. The list goes on.
Remember when we didn’t think twice about making a quick trip to the store? Now we stand on strips of tape, six feet apart, waiting to enter the store and again to checkout. Once inside, we follow one-way directional arrows up and down the aisles. Above our face masks, our eyes smile or roll in commiseration with fellow shoppers.
Laptops have replaced laps as grandparents use video connections to visit their grandchildren. Some businesses are retooling equipment to fabricate personal protection devices for medical personnel. A cottage industry of at-home crafters is turning out fabric face masks by the thousands. Comfort foods and bread baking have made a comeback as we’ve adapted to sheltering in place at home.
If you’re inclined, I’d encourage you to pick up your pen and write your way through this, for yourself and for those who may look to your words for guidance or comfort in the years to come.