Monday, May 4, 2020

Days of a Plague Day 29, April 23 - Day 33+2, April 29

Day 29, April 23. (Photo and text on Day 30) I did not forget but I was tired and grumpy. Even the 1PM updates ceased to be entertai... ummm, informative. But I did clean the kitchen and finished the hallway. Oh, so much cobwebs. And the other stuff.
Day 30, April 24. Being a maker is difficult. Sometimes I envy "artists" who make art based on their vision, (or that's how I see their work), as opposed to craft-maker/artisan/whatever-you-call-me who has to also take into consideration utilitarian merits of the end product and balance it against my aesthetics, preferences, knowledge and materials I have/can afford.

Today I cleaned the bedroom. I didn't do a great job but it's cleaner than it was this morning. I wished I had the gumption to clean like I used to, but it is what it is, so take that, Me!
Day 31, April 25. Woke up with a different kind of muscle ache from two days of halfhearted-intensive house cleaning. I have lost touch with the days of the week while on holidays, but this is the first time I could not remember what month it is, and remembering it is still my favorite month, April, oh, what a long April it has been! For some days I felt parts that make up me peel away, (peeling, not shedding,) but it must not be a bad thing, if I cannot remember, or know, what peeled away.

Tonight I participated in a literally game called Versability, where we are given three lines of a poem, make up a fourth, pool them together and guess the original line. I had told my companions I had not read verse since 1980-ish, even before my last year in college as an English major, and I am so not a poetry person, but I had a truly marvelous time. One of Scott's pieces, I not only had no idea but couldn't even relate to the war poem genre, so I really did submit the line: "Hail the Chief with a Big Black toe!"

I was very nervous about a poetry do so I prepared for a couple of hours listening to poems read on Youtube, searching names that lived in the dusty recess of my student life: Pope, Keats, Shelly, Wordworth, then Frost, Cummings, Ferlinghetti. Youtube recommended a Kipling piece. Since childhood I have not liked, at all, The Jungle Book, so I was not interested but Youtube insisted, so I listened. It was his "If". Well, blow me away, other than it being a father-to-son message, (he had two daughters and one son,) the line, "If you can think - and not make thought your aim;" stuck with me.

I say I blog for therapy. My mind races often from thought to thought, although nowhere near how it used to, and at times I feel compelled to record a thought just so I can move on to the next one. In the old days there were notebooks, but there is not the finality of posting, and I kept editing and changing and finally threw away the pages so the thought never rested/stopped. At best it was forgotten. In comparison, good or bad, complete or not, by posting, I retain a kind of record of what I was thinking at a particular time. I have felt less compelled to post "every" though as you've observed, but sometimes it's not a bad thing posting, now that I can't remember thoughts. So I can relate to not making though my aim, but sometimes, thinking is easier than making. Anyway, here's something I never imagined doing, (it is plague time after all,) a poem on Unravelling:

If-
by Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), written circa 1895

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
Day 32, April 26. (Text and pic on Day 33) The weather was ideal, sun, cool temps but no wind. It was a perfect day to go outside, and after much dithering we did weed/prune/pull/shove for three hours. Usually when we go out to a new section in our vast estate, the first job is to clear the surface debris, assess jobs required and feel overwhelmed, and today's was the most treacherous terrain, a near-vertical slope, (no joke, in the past I have slipped backwards when the ground was wet, holding on to weeds and trying not to laugh too hard lest the weed will come out,) but we managed enough to achieve visual satisfaction. As usual, my robust, ancient rosemary bushes had to be cut back to a quarter in size, but may they come back healthily, straight towards the sun once more.

I've been trying to read my paper diary from around late March, but my eyes just glide over lines. Among other things, I wanted to remember when we went food shopping in recent weeks, because I get the feeling the number of weekly trips haven't decreased, although we've had none of Ben's in-between trips after work, so he might say we've halved the trips. We have been paying much more each trip, though.

* Pre-lockdown, March 15, New World; this would have been our third-ish time we stocked up on stockable stuff.
* Pre-lockdown, March 21, New World; this was the time we thought we really had enough and didn't buy any extras.
* Day 6, March 31, tried New World but the queue was long so Ben shopped at Countdown.
* Day 11, April 5, I shopped at Countdown.
* Day 23, April 17, veg/fruit delivery.
* Day 24, April 18, milk/egg delivery resumed.
* Day 25, April 19, Ben shopped at Countdown and New World.
[EDIT] * Day 33+11, May 8, Ben shopped at Countdown and New World.
[EDIT] * Day 33+16+11, May 25, tried New World but the queue was long so we both shopped at Countdown.
[EDIT] * Day 33+16+24, June 5, we shopped at Countdown. 
Day 33, April 27. Rain was forecast all day or from late morning depending on the source you trust, but it didn't come until just a few minutes ago. I could have gone into the garden, which I was semi-keen to, but for some reason there were many, many sieves, strainers, and bowls to wash all day. I only made a salad, washed some feijoas kindly dropped off by Ben's colleague, and Ben made another cheese-cup-cakes, so I don't know where all the strainers came from, but wash them I did until just now, when we saw a... mysterious and somewhat sad sunset.

Today is the last day of nationwide Level 4 lockdown; from midnight we go to Level 3. For Ben and me, our daily lives won't change much, supermarket trips will be as onerous, but we will be able to buy more things online, including takeaways and meal pickups, if we so desire. (We must study Level 3 as vigilantly as we did 4, but neither of us have been interested.)

Many Kiwis are happy to be able to go back to work, albeit under the same physical separation rules, or to be able to drop off kids at kindy or school under certain restrictions. We are allowed to go a little further for exercises as well.

There will be no more regular 1PM updates, which I will miss, strangely, because that was the one constant in the last almost-five weeks. I also worry it will divorce us from the reality of what the virus is doing regardless of our artificial levels.

Yesterday afternoon Ben noticed the steam coming out of the MDF plant chimney. Industry is coming back, as will traffic, as will pollution. I hope folks took something good from this lockdown, though, living more slowly; needing and buying less but also locally, finding joy in things within us. Nah, don't think it's going to happen in the long run; it may take a while but I can't help thinking we'll go back to how we used to be.
 
Day 33+1, April 28. Thoughts on the newly arrived Level 3:
* The airport was noisy from midnight last night. Road traffic was picking up at 4.30AM, too busy at 5AM, and nearly back to pre-Plague days in the early half of the morning, but somewhat subdued around 10.30AM. We do live in a noisy place, in the fringes of a leafy older suburb, but facing the industrial area/airport, where the noise has always travelled straight up. Tomorrow the roadwork will resume. And the opera will cease. What fresh hell...
* I thought I would read books during the lockdown, (not that it's over yet,) but I didn't; the only thing I managed was to peel myself away from Plague news and read history/literary & art critique online. I was especially hoping to get through a couple of interesting cookbooks but so far the only time I touched any was last night looking for a reliable source about ghee-making.
* But my goodness we ate well for four and a half weeks. And miraculously, neither of us have gained weight, though things seem redistributed, but hey, we'll take any good news.
* I thought I would weave a bit, serious or fun, but haven't. But I thought about "my" weaving a few times, and that lockdown might have propelled me to go in a direction I had hoped to, without guilt. More thinking/reflection required to articulate this. OR, do I even need to spell it out? Should I just be making instead? Neither did I draw/paint/mixed-media-ed/printed. All the creativity went into cooking. 
* This has been a great rehearsal for me, in a way, of when Ben retires. We will have fun, eat well, cook a lot, even garden a bit, but I must devise a way to do my own making as well, as he'll want to do his stuff, too.
* There was a 1PM update. Jacinda may have noticed, without it we loose focus, and go astray.

Married 30 years today. Somewhat subdued, somewhat due to the Plague, but mostly because we were never big on ceremony, Ben especially. But today we wore our 30th Anniversary rings, ordered a year ago and made recently by a special jewelry friend Tom. Simple soup for dinner, cheese/cupcake, ginger wine with hot water; that's us.
Day 33+2, April 29. (Text and Pic on Day 33+3) Instead of leaving a trail of unfinished projects, I tackled the easiest, tidying the patio, thinking it'll be done in a couple of hours. Yeah... Four hours on, what remains is decommissioning/reusing pots and coffee bean bags of the shorter, paler cornflowers. They are still flowering, and they are blue, so I'm loathed to take them out, but they've been bowing for over a week in spite of the rain, and appear to be begging to retire. I read someone on the North Island has them self-seeding, so I thought it could be a good time to cut them and spread the cuttings where they might come back next year. The taller, darker variety planted in the ground are still going strong. I wonder if I have any seeds that can be sown now.

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