This winter was neither brutal, nor particularly lingering, so we really have little to complain about. However, with the onset of the very serious COVID-19 virus, the concept of “Stay Home, Stay Safe” has taken cabin fever to new, and annoying heights. I’ve tried really, really hard to accept this necessity of self-incarceration while wistfully gazing out the windows to appreciate the beauty of the season of early Spring and tiny emergent buds — and the light at the end of the virus.
During a March date that in different times would have hosted a birthday party, I recalled grandchildren applying cheerful Spring window gel clings and my Easter bunny lawn decoration stuck into a snowbank if necessary, but out there to give cheer. With a recent, last-blast covering of snow, the very minute the driveway was cleared of ice and snow, I was so elated that I decided to forego the hated boots I can never manage to correctly tie, and wore sneakers; only to be confronted with ice and snow on every sidewalk and parking lot I encountered, returning home with wet, miserable footwear, no doubt the penalty for not staying home, staying safe.
Once safely and gratefully back in the sanctuary of my “cabin,” I prepared extra flourishes for Sunday dinner, draping the table with the only-for-special-meals lace tablecloth, more candles than usual, and two vases. I remembered a year-ago Sunday dinner when I slipped the entrée into the oven, set the timer for 60 minutes, began defrosting the appetizers in the microwave, and cued the music with Bocelli’s “Sogno.” Then the lights went out. I wasn’t living alone then so I could find the strength to laugh it off, or somewhat laugh it off. I muttered several imprecations and maledictions. (Yes, those are probably the same things, but the occasion called for excess of expression.)
At the time, I popped a cork and filled the Waterford crystal flutes, took several sips, then brought a flashlight to the attic storage, dragging several large garbage bags up the stairs. I began pulling out pink, yellow and lavender flower garlands, three large handled multicolored baskets lined with yellow and pale blue fake grass, a collection of small porcelain bunnies in various poses and a very special teapot.
I carefully climbed up on the stepstool, garlands draped over elbow, to begin the ultimate battle of reclaiming my sanity. And I’m sure I can do that again.