A neighbor couple came over for dinner on Thursday, which turned out to be the last friend-dinner we’ll be having for a while, as we are now all, suddenly, social distancing (and I hope you are too).
Julia and I also contingency-planned over the weekend: What to do when she comes home from the hospital (shoes off at the door, scrubs immediately in the basement washing machine, then upstairs for a shower); what to do should one of us get sick (sleep in separate rooms, split the bathrooms, use gloves and respirators left over from when we painted the house).
Pile on everything I’ve been reading in the news, and I’ve started waking up in the middle of the night again, unable to fall back asleep, anxious about the future.
But I can feel the ground shifting, in other ways, too. This after I stopped looking at my screens for a moment and took Matisse out for a long walk, to the park near the end of our boulevard. It was the most pleasant almost-spring day yet this year. We waved to neighbors (or I waved and Matisse tried to pull in the opposite direction) and kept our appropriate 6-foot-minimum berth. Circling back, I realized I’d been drowning so much in gloomy urgency that I was overlooking all the good that is happening – and there is a tremendous amount of good happening.
Then I had a wacky idea: I could write a newsletter about that good. It could be a kind of counter-programing, for others, but mostly for myself – to remind myself of that good. To show my gratitude for it, like journaling in the open. The newsletter could live separately from this one, and – here’s maybe the wacky part – it could be daily.
It will be daily. I’ve never published on this kind of schedule before, but I hope the rhythm will be activating. I hope the format will too: Each letter will have one actionable thing you can do while social distancing. The rest will be a brief meditation on that action. I’ll send the letter out every morning, Eastern Time, for two weeks – the length of a self-quarantine. At the end of these two weeks, I’ll re-evaluate. I’m calling it: An Abundance of Potions. The first issue goes out tomorrow morning.
I’ll be hitting pause on this Sunday newsletter until the daily one’s wrapped. I’m telling you all this now both so you’ll sign up before the first mailing, and so you’ll hold me accountable. I hope that wherever you are, you are taking seriously both the threat at hand and the need to take care of yourself and others. I will do what I can to help.