Many have written about what they’ve learned during the pandemic, but because I am housebound for the long haul (until the vaccine is readily available), I expect the list to be ongoing. Here is what I’ve learned so far.

  • Socializing is a skill. After seven months of not going out, I have lost the skill. Making conversation face to face (at a deck distance) is difficult. My apologies to the friend whose amazing peach crumble I consumed in silence, marvelling (silently) at the contrast of flavours.
  • You can indeed see with hair in your eyes.
  • Sharing the house with a younger person meant hearing music I’d never heard before. It sounds obvious, but music that is completely new can be revitalizing — until it isn’t new anymore.
  • And when that younger person goes back to her life, you will feel again the loss you felt when she left home for university.
  • Open the windows and air the rooms — and feel like you live in a Victorian novel.
  • Your beloved survived Covid but you still have to finish that damned short story.
  • Gardening is an act of hope. Much of the work I have done in the garden in the past weeks is for a spring showing.
  • In the long silences, your brain makes random connections. For example, Pippin in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings serves the same function as Marianne in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility: to provide the lesson that one must control oneself lest one bring harm to oneself or to others (Pippin at the well, Pippin with the seeing-stone; Miriam with her open display of love). Anti-maskers take note.