Six weeks ago, while visiting Seattle, I watched as the news reported the spread of a novel virus named COVID-19. The hotel was full. People congregated in the lobby, ate from the complimentary buffet, and swam in the pool. I saw a little girl lick spilled CocaCola from the floor. 😫

I flew home to Florida and wondered about my upcoming trip to Wisconsin. Then the first coronavirus death occurred in the U.S.

I called my sister. We agreed, no matter how much we missed each other, now was not the time. I rescheduled my flight, basically grounding myself.

Not long after that, around the world, most everyone was grounded. Sick or not. 

The new reality of self-distancing is in total contrast to a musing I wrote about a stranger’s hand.

As a writer, my routine has not changed, although my curiosity to read about the pandemic slows my word-count and dampens my creativity

And yet, is more productivity really required while we are just trying to slog through each day in a brand-new way?

My writer’s critique group now meets online. We did this years ago when I regularly traveled to China. As much as I miss the close physical camaraderie, hugs and high-fives, this online meeting gives me a sense of traveling again, if only in my mind.

My daughter has been gracious to fortify the household with healthful immunity beverages. She also grocery shops, finding my favorite smoked herring fillets. Luckily, pickled herring and canned rutabagas were still on the shelves. My Scandinavian cravings come in handy during a crisis. 

Turmeric, cayenne, citrus, etc. Good for the immune system!

On a serious note, COVID-19 is taking jobs, stealing livelihoods, extinguishing lives. It even adds heartache to unrelated tragedies. My dear friend lost her husband to cancer—no funeral—and was denied the comfort to mourn alongside her friends and family. Another was unable to travel to see her son who had unexpectedly passed away.

“Life is a matter of seeing what you can do to fix things and of savoring with glee the moments you can’t do anything at all.”  ~ Pico Iyer

On the positive side, I’ve watched parents on social media slow down with their children—learn to bake bread and plant small gardens. 🌱 🌿 Veteran homeschoolers are sharing survival tips to parents faced with the daunting task of suddenly educating their kids while working from home.

Puzzles are popular!

People are learning to cut their own hair or have a new appreciation for their barber. 

I sewed cheerful homemade face masks!

My laundry load has lightened and I wonder if I will ever wear pants again!     

My niece told me her family took a drive to nowhere, just to get out of the house. Nowhere sounds like a magical place.

How many drives have you taken to nowhere?

My husband and I have future hotel and flight reservations to Wisconsin, California, and Bangkok, Thailand. We will continue to postpone and remain grounded until it is safe to travel.

I read that if you are mentally and emotionally grounded, you will not dwell on the ‘what ifs’—like running out of toilet paper.

Found a safe location.

Search me, oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23

During these uncertain times, are you grounded?

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