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And the kids round here look just like shadows,
always quiet, holding hands / From the churches to the jails, tonight all is silence in the world
It’s 7:20 as I begin writing this, less than an hour away from when the state-wide curfew begins in New Jersey. The last bits of daylight are coming through the windows in my grandmother’s dining room, and the house is silent, sans the sound of my mother grinding her teeth from her room in the back of the house. She’s been uneasy the past couple hours, and despite numerous attempts to calm her, we’ve found ourselves at a loss.
Maybe she’s picking up on what we’ve all been walking around with these past few days–the confusion, the uncertainty. Maybe, hopefully, she is totally unaware of what’s unfolding around her, perhaps a small blessing from her disease.
It’s hard to find the words to say these days, but I’ll continue to try to, in part to help myself make sense of these things, in part to offer an opportunity for dialogue with others if they wish to have it. I am anxious to see what these next few weeks will bring; I am comforted by the ways I’m seeing friends and loved ones and strangers come together to offer fellowship and love; I am even more acutely aware of my mortality now than I was before, which makes me appreciate every opportunity of enjoying life in the ways we still are permitted to right now.
It’s been strange to try to understand this new reality we’re living in, with parties and social gatherings and outings that were very ordinary just a week ago now all essentially halted. But I’ve been taking more time to appreciate the world waking up around us as everything else must slow: listening to–and being able to better decipher–each bird’s distinct song; admiring the flowers defiantly blooming while the rest of the world hides away. I am so thankful this is happening now, in spring, where there is some healthy, hopeful juxtaposition to the reality that continues to unfold around us.
It’s 7:40 now, and it’s finally dark, just my reflection staring back at me from the window. Sleep has finally come for my mother, and I feel relieved that she’s found some peace. I can only hope it will find its way to me and the rest of the world tonight.