By Rachel E Bledsoe of Misfits of a Mountain Mama
Dreams surface stirring the physical around 3 a.m. Early morning rising to do what I do—write. Bring the emotions and the memories onto a page. Fill the white space with something meaningful. Make it beautiful. Heartfelt. Grind on the page. Give it a purpose. The world is sinking into a place we once knew.
These words are the same. They’re consistent. There is control here. Shaping a sentence and doing what can be done. Few have my gift. The real essence to dispose letters into coherency. Take a sip of the SleepyTime tea. Remember even chaos has a function and a place. It evolves us. Forcing the substantial to march into the forefront of our lives.
Today is not the normal. It’s not the routine we’re used to surviving in. The word “pandemic” has a thousand possibilities strung inside each thought. I want to keep looking to the elders, the older generations, for answers. What do we do? Where is the manual for pandemic? They don’t know. When planes crashed into the towers on September 11, 2001, it became something we lived through. We learned daily through the months and following years what our new existence would become.
Control the chaos where you can, and wake up. Wake up at 3 a.m. to strange dreams—neither terrifying nor reassuring. But a dream. Make tea. Smoke a cigarette. The birds are chirping their morning songs. Unaware of the humans walking in uncertainty. Never knowing or caring there’s a writer listening intently to morning songs being sung in treetop perches.
Prepare for another day. Get the last few things on a list. Deep clean. Purge away the unneeded. Give it to someone who needs shoes for their kids. The boy is growing at a breakneck pace and clothes come and go more rapidly. Pants high-water his skinny legs where they once fit a week ago. He is losing his baby teeth. Time is marching. Growing. Frost warned us, “Nothing gold can stay.”
My first grader and I sit at our dining room table. We go over the snow packet sent home. I pull up Google Translate. Learn a language. “Bonjour.” Keep progressing even when the ground is shaky and stability seems like a fading memory. New foundations are built with brick and mortar and certainty. Construction is the bare necessity in finding footholds. We build for a better tomorrow starting today.
The beauty in quarantine is the adjustment. The starting from the unknown and building something more substantial than we’ve seen. Cleaner. Greener. Single use. Not so disposable. It’s the things we can control. It’s the place where humanity breaks free.
Yes, we are going to see the worst in some cases… but we will also see the best in humanity. The beautiful twinkling Christmas lights going back up to spread cheer. The stores opening early to accommodate the elderly and pregnant. The neighbors bringing groceries to others. The sense in how we are globally facing something united, not as a nation but as a world. We are living, breathing, and walking parallel in stride with other people across the globe.
I want to panic. I do. I have lived with anxiety since childhood. This is how the world feels daily to me. Expect the worst outcome… ALWAYS. Live with a thousand ‘what if’s.’ Listen intently. Read everything. Google. Buy. Prepare. Find the best control over something which isn’t meant to be controlled. It’s in these overbearing feelings, I am at peace. Do what you can daily. I order takeout food from the cafe which gave me my first job. Plan our meals. Clean the closet. Organize the clutter. Find normalcy in bittersweet quarantine.
I’m awake, and remembering to write.
No one can do what you can do.
This post was originally published on Misfits of a Mountain Mama.
Rachel E. Bledsoe is an Appalachian mama and misfit. She writes about her adventures, heartaches, and details her life’s journey on the blog, The Misfits of a Mountain Mama. She also enjoys long walks on the beach, puppies, and Marie Antoinette biographies. Be sure to follow her by visiting The Misfits of a Mountain Mama’s Facebook page or join her on Twitter @MisfitMtMama.