The strange news continues. The circles on the coronavirus maps are getting bigger and darker, and the chatter on social media and the television is the sound of a body politic dying for want of a head. A highly trained spectator, I watch powerless, as the federal government that once made the States great continues to let the people down. A gulf yawns at the top, where compassion and discerning leadership should be.
Without this organizing center, my tiny world devolves. Society has vanished overnight, and with it a vibrant economy, leaving islands of domesticity and the internet. My daydreams, as I go about my housework, are large-scale speculations about where all this is going, how my family could be affected, whether the economy will collapse. Yesterday I spent several hours on the phone, swapping opinions and asking friends what they would do if they were in charge.
The epidemic aside, I have a curious feeling of being transported back into the 80s, when most women were at home most of the time. My days are suddenly more like my mother’s were. I’m keeping house, mainly, the days structured around cooking, tidying, laundry, and cleaning. I want to make casseroles I haven’t eaten since my twenties. I made one the other night: California Tuna Casserole. It was icky.
Inside this global pandemic is a golden moment when we have the perfect excuse to be families, nothing more. To hang out with one another, cook together, feather our nests, and enjoy the nuances of a view limited to what we can see in the street or the yard.
This morning, I woke up after sleeping late but in time to see the snow still clinging to the trees. One tree, in particular, behind my neighbors’ house across the way, stood out as a king, its crown radiating a sinuous energy high over me.