Three books on the go: American Isis, a biography of Sylvia Plath; The Hidden Life of Trees, a science book in layman’s terms about how forests function; and Desert Solitaire, reflections of a part-time forest ranger in the Moab Desert. I have also taken out my ukulele and song book from the closet. The home gym is good to go, too, and the thirty flights of stairs outside my door are ready to be climbed. Walking outside. My French film collection, slowly and carefully built during each of my visits to Paris over the past eight years, still contains un-watched titles. This blog, and a myriad of other writing projects and ideas, lay in waiting. And even more books to be read on my own private shelves, or online through ebooks and audio books.
YouTube. Netflix. Cooking. Cleaning. The « bird courses. »
And, for me, perhaps, even, the unthinkable: some wu-wei. Nothing at all. A « spare. »
Outside, in the forbidden world that perhaps is enduring a Second Flooding, in part not a bad idea at all if the « vulnerable sector » were defined in more sinister, karmic terms, it snows. Here, inside, at least two weeks of « self-isolation » begin. « The school is on lockdown. » I, for one, am giddy about it. And I hope it lasts longer than just two weeks.
Not that I want anyone to fall sick or die. I cancelled my trip, it seemed the responsible thing to do, even when I didn’t understand the hype, and still might not, fully. Since the most dutiful thing I can do in these times is stay home, and considering all of the occupations listed above are accessible to me here, I have a personal curriculum that will last me well beyond this pandemic.
« The difference between bliss and distress generally seems to be whether solitude is chosen or involuntary. »
– Christopher Knight, in « The Stranger in the Woods, » by Michael Finkel.
This solitude may be involuntary, but good comes of every bad, my mother always said, and I welcome the anomaly of an extended down-time where travel and my regular metropolitan distractions are not options. If I could ignore the « why » part of this equation, this would all be absolute heaven. I will need to run out to get wine, though.
The proverbial bell has rung, writing class is over, I’m off to my reading class, ciao for now, classmates.