A New Corona Virus Benefit

The pandemic allows sweet moments to remain with me and grow even sweeter and more powerful, like a fine perfume. I always appreciate my granddaughters, now more than ever. And this weekend, I realized that the pandemic was protracting time, stretching it to allow me to relive precious moments with “my girls” again and again.
My son, Jonah, was hanging a Ninja line between two very high redwood trees near his house in the Anderson Valley. When fully assembled, the line would contain a collection of ladders, swings, pull-up bars, and rings, enough to keep the girls amused and active for long stretches of time. Just watching them play on the line would be a treat in itself, as they spun and turned, summersaulted and dangled in every possible direction.
But something even better happened when Jonah handed two brightly-colored, thick nylon ropes, each with a huge knot on one end, to Amelie to hold for him. Within seconds she had stepped away from the rest of us and begun twirling the huge knots, first on one side, then the other. “Look,” she announced, “I’m twirling fireballs.”
Clever, I thought, then turned back to watch Jonah assembling the Ninja line, while Amelie continued twirling her ropes. A few minutes later, it was time to start dinner, so I wandered off to our house and began rinsing the salad greens while Stephen made the hamburger patties. Just as I whisked the dressing ingredients together, my daughter-in-law knocked on our door “Fireball performance after dinner,” she announced with a grin.
Once we had eaten, Stephen and I trooped down to what the girls call “The Little House, where Amie told Stephen and me to stand at the edge of their deck, and ordered her parents upstairs to the deck off the bedroom. Then she and Poppy disappeared.
A minute later, Poppy bounced into view to announce the “Fireball Show,” along with a narrative of her “three-year” study of performing with fireballs, ever since she was three years old. This show, however, was to feature Amelie, her pupil. While not performing, Poppy would be lighting the fireballs with her torch, fashioned from a pampas grass tuft.
And what a show they put on: Amelie twirling and throwing fireballs up in the air, all the while assuring us that we didn’t need to worry about her burning herself, Poppy vamping onstage to light the fireballs with her “torch,” an Intermission with a torch dance, and second act that featured four—not two—fireballs.
But as much as I—we all—enjoyed and marveled at the show, it was its silage that affected me most. Because we are sheltering-in-place, I didn’t have to run off to another activity. I had the rest of the evening to inhale the delightful perfume of the Fireball Show, returning to select moments from time to time, as well as periodically connecting with the joy watching the show had generated within me.
During normal times, we acknowledge our pleasure momentarily, then discard the good feeling as we move on to our next activity. Life moves too quickly and demands too much to allow us to prolong such pleasurable moments and invite their charge to course through us multiple times over the next hours. The Corona Virus has offered this time to us, and we could all benefit by taking advantage of it.

Berkeley Curb


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