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Diane's Blog

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These Days


DianeB

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My desk doesn't look so different. To one side rests a folder holding the statements for my tax return. Notes and homework for my music theory course are spread across the blotter. On the other side sits my appointment calendar.

But none of this is quite as it should be. The tax returns would normally be done by now. The notes for my course were not taken in the classroom, they were created by our teacher during a Zoom video chat. And the calendar reminds me only to put out the trash. Like almost everyone now, I have nowhere to go.

I sneeze and cough and wipe my nose. This cold is the last thing I brought home with me, probably from bowling, before the pandemic struck. Obviously I have no business going beyond my sidewalk.

Yet I am lucky, so very fortunate when so many are nearing the end of their rope as I write this in mid April. I have food and medicine and a home. I have neighbors to check on me. I have a background in biochemistry to help me make sense of it all.

In January, after I put Christmas away, I read the latest in a string of books I've devoured on practice and self improvement. Anything to keep me from chopping up my guitars in frustration and feeding them to the fireplace. It mentioned the 1955 announcement of the success of the first field trial of the Salk polio vaccine. This piqued my attention because I was born in 1953, and the fear of polio was still palpable during my childhood. What really roused my curiosity was the account of Jonas Salk's speech that day. His failure to acknowledge his coworkers' contributions tainted his reputation for the rest of his life. As a scientist, and as one who remembered polio, I wanted to learn more.

I found the source, the Pulitzer Prize winning Polio: An American Story. I followed up with the HBO movie "Warm Springs", which dramatized Roosevelt's experience. Then I read The Cutter Incident, about the contaminated lots of hastily produced polio vaccine that sickened, paralyzed, and killed hundreds of children and adults later in 1955. In February, I watched "Contagion". I know what a strand of RNA can do. Nothing since has truly surprised me.

I can’t meet my young guitar tutor for our weekly lessons. He needs income, and I need to avoid people, so he made a grocery run for me. I paid him hazardous duty rate and more. For all I know, he might have saved my life.

My music stand holds a stack of songs. I chip away at the exercises and scales. During pauses, I glance up at the photos of the gang from Gatherings past. Most of us aren't spring chickens anymore. My imagination turns feverish. I see myself looking up at a nurse in hazmat gear. They’ve taken my glasses. She – or he – is blurry. I’m terrified of drowning, alone, in my own pleural secretions. The first molecules of propofol reach my brain. The lights go out.

I shiver. I stand up, put the guitar down, and walk to the kitchen and fix a snack. I munch a while, flip through a magazine, and go back to my guitar. I play my heart out.

These days are all we have.

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dsds

Diane- Thank you for sharing your heart & life "These Days". You are a gem! This is what your thoughts evoked in me.

This is a crazy world that we are experiencing. The average person has a normal routine and a system that life revolves around with a small variance once or twice a year.  This virus has provided a major pothole in the road of life and has had a great impact on each and every person in the world. Some more than others depending on the circumference of influence that the virus has had on them and their families and friends.

I find myself in a unique situation because my life up to February 2020 has so many parallels to this virus. How, I was in the Military for 20 years and my routine was anything but normal. Long 12-16 hours days aboard ships for weeks and months on end. Isolation in small communities and aboard ships, where not seeing anyone outside of your 50 -100 men crew for 90-120 days was the norm. Living in close quarters. I was a Captain of a Tug with a crew of 6 men for the next 26 years and again, you are sequestered within the confines of an 87ft tug, working, eating, sleeping alongside the same 6 men and isolated for a minimus of two weeks to 30 days. The extreme was 90 days.

Today, with this virus, these living conditions feel like a vacation, with the exception of the mental stress and strain of a silent killer lurking out in the night/day waiting to take another victim with no conscience as to the loved ones that are left behind or the pain and economic upheaval. Things do not make sense. We see and hear humanities reaction. Some with don't understand, some we agree with and yet, humanity will prevail. 

I try to make my day more meaningful as I process the mental gymnastics of this threat! I internalize so many feelings and thoughts and the introspective nature pulls out the past mistakes and the "I Wish I Would Have", or "IF Only, or What If"  (IF is the biggest word in the dictionary! A reflection of life as I take the time to stop and think and be quiet within my soul! 

1. Not taking life for granted.

2. Time is a precious gift. We all have the same amount to use. Give generously! 

3. Taking time to smell the roses

4. Quit running the race and enjoy the journey

5. Reaching out to old friends and saying hello

5. Staying closer to family and making sure that they know how much they matter and how much I love them. 

6. It is never too late.

7. I have my faith, my family, my friends and my health. (and my guitars and a love of music with my guitar family:) 

Life is good. 

Thank you Diane. Your writing always makes me think and feel! You have a gift and a friend always.

Take Care and be safe!

Mike

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