I’ve been adrift lately, casting about on some infinite ocean in a small dingy … without oars. A sense that my life is not my own, at least between 8 and 5, Monday through Friday. The child in me rants and rages, risks rocking the boat and drowning. The adult in me stares down at the water, searching for mermaids. The child cries and bangs her head against the seat. The adult peers at the horizon, embracing the earth’s curvature despite the deep-seated fear of falling off the edge of the world. The child pouts and fantasizes about abrupt departures should this boat ever get to land. The adult lies down on her back and gazes up at the clouds, marveling at their cottony and colorful expressions.
When the going gets tough, the adult grabs the child’s hand and turns to nature.
Earlier this week, I took a walk over to one of the larger ponds (or lakes as the developers prefer them to be known). As usual, I was looking for trash, which I found. But I also found this … a wonderland of sorts. What looks like a river is merely a stream only a few inches wide. I felt like Gulliver standing next to it. As I walked around, I kept my eyes focused on the ground so I wouldn’t step on any Lilliputians.
My inner child’s imagination took root (pun intended) and I imagined myself a boatman on this mighty river, or an explorer slashing her way through a tropical jungle. In my imagination, I saw before me a humongous body of water (not), and I had to be mindful not to fall into the deep crevasses that scarred the earth.
The adult in me wished I knew more of botany and could explain this lush vegetation that would not be seen except for the drought. And I wondered at how Nature–with her cyclical bountifulness and barrenness–has a purpose in everything she does.
Then it rained steadily for two days. I went out again.
You might have to squint, but yes those are the bathing beauties (aka turtles) that I look forward to seeing on my walks around the smaller ponds. They always slip into the water when I’m on the same side of the pond as they. The third photo is of a depression that only had grassy vegetation for several weeks, until this recent rain. Now water fills Nature’s bowl. A group of wood storks enjoyed the sun on the other side of this new pond, too far away for me to get a decent photo.
And then there was Friday. I almost didn’t go to work as I had been low energy all week, dragging myself from one meeting-filled day to the next. But I expected it to be a mellow day, with a chance to visit the ponds and the turtles and the birds.
The child raged when she was told that she would have to spend all of the coming week, 8 hours each day, sitting in a call center, manning phones, reading off a script that might or might not satisfy the caller. After almost a month of looking the other way, Florida has deigned to acknowledge the threat of coronavirus, that maybe–just maybe–providing some (hopefully accurate) information is better than no information. COVID-19 (as the coronavirus is also known) is in the U.S. and the public will want information.
I am not a health care worker. I am not an epidemiologist. I am not a scientist. All I know about COVID-19 is what anyone who reads the New York Times or the Washington Post or Reuters or The Guardian knows. That said, I just might know more than the White House administration.
Still. My inner child raged within me while my outer adult sat stoically as my duties were explained to me. Then I said, “I hate telephones.” Granted, I had “volunteered” myself to be assigned to a call center in case of a natural disaster, but I did that only because I was told to sign up for something.
It’s not that I don’t want to help people. I do like helping people, and you can read about one recent experience I had: When a Stranger Asks You for Help. I just have some trepidation when it comes to being “voluntold,” treated as if I were untrained personnel in the military and am now being called up for active duty. In the past when I’ve had to take calls from the public on behalf of my workplace, I’ve often felt pathetic, armed with only enough information to frustrate both me and the caller.
Enough of my self-pitying. After the child had exhausted her tantrum, thankfully deep within me while I stood at my window gazing at the blue sky, I decided it was time to go out. I had only walked up the street when I was given a gift. A sure-fire way to lift my spirits and bring balance back into my world is a sighting such as this:
I am grateful to this bluebird for positioning himself so close to the sliver of moon and then holding his pose long enough for me to get a good photo. (This photo is a cropped enhancement courtesy of my husband.)
Sights like this make me feel like crying, but in a good way.
Don’t weep for me, dear Reader. Eh, if the volume of calls is less than expected, I’ll be sent back to my office and will (no doubt) complain about that.
Just ask Maxine. “Talk to the paw,” she says!
You can help, dear Reader, by taking necessary precautions as outlined by the CDC (click here). At the very least, don’t be like one of my coworkers and sneeze into your hand during a meeting and then use that hand to pass items around the table. Just sayin’.
Thank you for reading!
Marie A Bailey
Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.