I am been sheltering in place by law and by practice since the middle of March. Louisiana extended the stay at home order until May 15. There are a few exceptions that have been modified beginning May 1, but they are not enough to detail here. Basically, the order of stay at home remains in place.
Most days I start my day with a shawl draped over my body, my laptop balanced on my knees in my La-Z-Boy recliner. A steaming cup of Community coffee sits near. I listen to a live stream of worship music most mornings. I may be alone in the house, but I stay connected to the larger world around me through music. The Bible speaks of putting on a garment of praise,* which sounds quite nice on some level. However, I don’t feel like I have to put on something to worship, as the spirit of worship is coming from inside of me as I respond to the sounds and rhythms of the worship emanating from my laptop.
After a second or third cup of coffee as well as perusing the Washington Post online, I generally eat a small breakfast. Lately, I have given up traditional breakfast food. I eat leftovers from the night’s cooking of the day before. Today I ate Chicken Alfredo mixed with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach that I prepared yesterday afternoon.
By midmorning, I take my daily bike ride. This morning as I rode along the trail I enjoyed the wide variety of vines and ferns, and of course, the dense thicket of trees that serve as a hedge along the Trace. In those trees, birds sit and flitter, singing their staccato melodies.
The air was heavier than it has been in preceding weeks. The humid air seemed to carry the sound and smells more readily than the drier, cooler days of early April. I smelled the dense aromas of honeysuckle, magnolia and jasmine. The birds played on in a tumult of energy and sounds. Their music helped propel my heavy limbs onward.
On most days, I try to follow exercise with writing. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. However, there is always time for Kindle reading. That is essential.
Yesterday I completed Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman, which is a memoir detailing the author’s early life as a Hasidic Jew in New York City, and her subsequently leaving the Jewish sect as a young mother. I recommend it, but I am always fascinated by stories of religious cults, and how followers break free. I read another memoir last week, by chance also by a Jew. Inheritance, by Dani Shapiro was a book that I found to be cloying and long. It might have been better as a long essay rather than a book.
I am trying my hand at cooking once again, a habit I had almost completely dropped in recent years. Some of my efforts have been better than others. I was a little heavy-handed with the butter in yesterday’s chicken dish. In contradiction to Julia Child, one can use too much butter.
Some days, I visit with my sister with proper social distancing. We share opposite ends of a picnic table at Bogue Falaya Park in Covington as we eat a lunch together, six feet apart. Almost every week, I visit my mother to help her with groceries and other essentials.
I also teach a small class of English as Second Learners (ESL) once a week via Zoom. I am going to end the classes soon as we are not meeting regularly or long enough I feel to make much of a difference. We’ll resume probably in the Fall as a summer break is customary.
At day’s end, I usually find something streaming to watch. Lately it’s been old BBC classics that adapt Austen novels or other classic novels and plays adapted for film or TV. I have enjoyed dramas inspired by Thomas Hardy, George Elliot and even Shakespeare in recent weeks.
And so, the rhythm of my life flows. I start with music and end with literature. In the between time, there is exercise, food and some fellowship. Not a bad way to wile away the Quarantine.