Groundhogs Day, the movie, once again feels fitting as we head into two-plus years of pandemic strangeness.
If I may riff further. In many ways our house, now snow-covered in a small mountain village, sometimes feels like its own form of remote outpost. Or an air-locked capsule sheltering us as we travel through space and time. From our upstairs windows at night, with stars brightly glowing outside, our abode can easily take on the characteristics of a spaceship hurtling through the night sky carrying me and my mate. Destination unknown.
Some days — when the air outside is safe and clean of virus risk and smoke — we venture out on the equivalent of space walks. On less safe days, such as when tourists fill our one grocery store, we remain inside. The COVID virus surges and wanes somewhere out there. We suit up or lock down when needed.
Sometimes critical danger presents to both ourselves and our home. For instance, last summer’s choking, extensive wildfires forced us to pack up and head to our escape pod (aka the Jeep). We head elsewhere to wait out the latest threat in a pre-screened, safe locale. Once the air clears we restock and return to the security of our space.
On this surreal, often bumpy pandemic ride I can, at times, lose myself in projects and be productive. There are short-term goals and to-do lists. The occasional hard deadline drives more intensive activity. Other days and weeks simply blur into mind-numbing waiting. Waiting for an end to this liminal space.
Unpredictability is the constant. We amuse ourselves thinking about the past. Those days when spontaneity was an option and travel felt easy. Crowds were not hostile or life threatening, only an inconvenience. New, unknown spaces held wonder and beckoned with friendly potential and possibility.
We ponder the future. Will it ever be like it once was, for a brief window anyway, again? Might we exist in a world where we are not constantly assessing unfamiliar faces, weighing risk, playing defense? Will we ever relax and wander, mostly carefree, (and maskless) again into new territories? Was that time actually the anomaly?
Meanwhile, we bide this time and exercise small control over our little domain. We engage, warily, with the outside world. We turn to curated views and news reports to assess our present. Streamed entertainment distracts.
The nights sometimes offer welcome and restful release. When not so, they’re fitful.
The days grow longer as we fly toward spring 2022.
We hope for good things for our planet. Like gentle precipitation followed by sunlight and birds and bees to feed and pollinate the trees and soil. Or kind smiles and gestures that nourish our souls.
Quiet longing for harmony and collective ingenuity.
It’s not everything we want, just a small desire to dance on firm yet pliable ground, uncomplicated by chaos, in a less threatening, menacing environment.