Coronavirus · My Thoughts · poetry

What’s My Definition of Safety Now?

During our coronavirus self-quarantine, I felt safe at home. My definition of safety expanded—it meant being home, staying home, away from anyone else who might expose me to the virus. After the quarantine ended, I faced how my safety was threatened because now I could go out into the world. I had to face the unsafe world! My safety net of seclusion evaporated.

Lin and I had completely controlled who entered our home during this time. We only allowed the furnace repairman to come in for a short duration. Our furnace went out, and he needed to check the thermostat. No one else. We relished the safety we felt in our home—barricaded in the east mountains among the trees, away from people and the dangers they possibly held for us.

Then on April 8, I finally could relax after our month-long self-quarantine, but that meant I could go out in the world—what would that bring? With a poetic view, I celebrated my liberation.

Today I Breathed—It is a Month!

April 8, 2020

            We made it!
Thirty-one days away
            From Madrid
                        The airport
                                    Now I remember many workers with mask on
                                                Did they know?
                        A bustling restaurant downtown
                                                Jovial waiters served our meal
            From Toledo
                        Crowded busy streets
                                    Naïve about the possibility
                        Lunch in a crowded café
                                    Again, our meal served
We flew out on March 8th
            The coronavirus exploded there the 9th.
I feared the worst,
                        but it didn’t happen!
Thirty-one days passed
                                                How do I feel now?
                                                            How about now?
A cough,
            A sore throat
Oh, no!
            Am I sick?
                        Is it the virus?
                                    Is it psychosomatic?
Two weeks
            Of self-quarantine
I didn’t want
            To take a chance
            To infect you
            To spread it
                        If I had it.
 Third week
            Our self-quarantine over
                        I ventured out
Today I breathed deeply
            For the first time
                        In a month.
Habitually I shallow breathe
            As it is!
But this last month
            I deeply held my breath
We were in a hot spot!
Today I believe strongly I’m okay
            We dodged a bullet!
Today my husband kissed me
                        Hugged me
                                    For the first time!
I ached
            For his touch
                        His lips!
Thirty-one days behind us
            Safe so far
                        But still vigilant!

But then, I had to face the unknown in this new world the coronavirus created. In New Mexico, shelter-in-place became the standard, therefore I didn’t even think about frivolous shopping—just the necessities of food and medicine. But that meant being around people and the possibility of being exposed.

Somehow, we had dodged a bullet coming home from Madrid, Spain where the virus exploded the day after we left. Would I be so lucky in the grocery store? On my first excursion out, I went to Albuquerque and picked up a prescription at Walgreen’s and felt safe. But my next stop was Smith’s grocery store, and it shocked me. At Walgreen’s people respected social distancing and kept their distance. I hit the grocery store late afternoon, and the frantic crowd stormed the place, wanting toilet paper and other survival supplies. The scene overwhelmed me, and I got out quickly.

I describe my next grocery store experience below through poetry:

My Newfound Fear of the World

April 13, 2020

As I walked into
            The grocery store
Panic gripped my throat
            My stomach clinched!
Would I pass someone
And get the dreaded
I eyed each person
            Many donned masks
                        And gloves
It was Senior time
            Before the rush
So conscientious a group!
            But still I worried!
This deep fear upset me!
            Where’s my faith?
                        My trust in my God?
It almost felt like
            A panic attack!
Not full blown
            But close!
The safety of our home
            Comforts me!
                        A fortress
                                    Against this
                                                Invisible enemy!
No fear
            No dread
                        Safety in our diligence!
But today
            The world is scary
The enemy lurks
            In a cough
                        A sneeze
                                    Getting to close
                                                To someone else!
My safety
            My first priority
My health
            Top of the list!
My happiness
            I must respect!
            I don’t want to shop
                                    To be near you
Stay away, please!
            Never in my life
                        Have I wanted that
                                    Felt that way!
I love hugs
                                    But the world changed in
Stay away, please!
Safety for the last couple months

As I write this blog post, I surveyed the changes in the last couple months. On Friday morning, I set my alarm for 6:30 a.m. to go to the grocery store in Edgewood, New Mexico, a small community closer than Albuquerque. I don my mask and gloves and usually finish before 8:00 am. This has become a weekly ritual which will probably continue.

What rituals have you started because of the coronavirus? How has it changed your normal life?

Flippo's Biography cover

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