A Gift of Covid 19

We’ve been spending a lot of our quarantine time in Rancho Navarro, where Jonah and I bought some property years ago. We now have two houses on our tract, ours built by Stephen and his guys around 15 years ago, then added on to just before Steve retired. The situation of two houses and lots of open space works well during the pandemic, if you discount my constant ache to be even closer physically to my granddaughters.

Before Covid 19, when we were all up at what the girls call their “little house,” life flowed freely in and out of both homes. Now that the girls are not coming into our house to access the art supplies and games we’ve collected over the years, they tend to stick closer to home. We get together for meals on Jonah’s huge deck, and for excursions to the beach and hikes. And for writing workshops.

Because writing is all about self expression, yesterday I created a workshop centered around interpersonal situations I described to the girls, who then had to write a sentence describing the way the characters involved in the situation felt. Once they had written one sentence, I asked them to think of another, a different way a character might react, and to write a sentence about that.

One situation involved a mother yelling at her daughter because the daughter hadn’t helped clear the table. Another involved a girl calling her friend to talk on the phone, and the friend telling her she didn’t have time to talk. As the girls and I discussed their sentences, we talked about synonyms first, then about alternate ways of reacting. In addition to writing, I was hoping to teach them something about emotions, and about the choices we have when faced with an unpleasant situation.

It was a beautiful morning, warm, breezy, with a clear view of the gentle hills of redwood trees off in the distance. We were out on the deck, one girl on each side of me, each happily engaged in the exercise. And I was enjoying spending this time with my beloved granddaughters, listening to their voices, Amie’s lower and velvety, Poppy’s higher and crystalline.

After a while, waiting for the girls to finish writing their latest sentence, I heard the muted strains of two other voices wafting toward me: syllables in Jonah’s baritone from the outbuilding he has designated as his office during the pandemic , and bits of words in Anya’s chirpier voice from the bedroom window behind and above us.

Oh my, I thought, I’m surrounded by voices of people I love. Four voices, creating a personal quadrophonic performance. And, I realized, brought to me by Covid 19.

Sidewalk Shadows


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