Unneighborly Pandemic Thoughts

It’s getting hot. That’s not unusual for Sacramento at this time of year. But a pandemic, a stay at home order, and the closing of all public and municipal swimming pools is. With the extension of a county stay at home order until May 22, and an expected “no beach” order to hit on May 1, I’m feeling a little antsy.

I have my window open, until it gets too hot and we have to turn on the air conditioner. I can hear the kids on the other side of the back fence. They’re in their built-in kidney-shaped swimming pool. A swimming pool. We don’t have one. There’s nothing I crave more right now than a dip in a pool. A long dip. To wash off the stale indoors-ness sweat on my hot, itchy skin.

And apparently some folks are enjoying their personal pools.

As for me, I am having decidedly unneighborly thoughts. I want to kick down the fence between our yards and splash into that pool. I want to float lazily in the sun, forgetting my troubles. I want to …

I want this pandemic to end. I want to go where I want, when I want. And eventually, I want to get into a swimming pool, swim in the ocean, and go to a state fair or something.

For now, I’ll just have to fan myself and try to clear my head of these unneighborly thoughts. Be well, friends.

Pandemic Poem


The wind is howling outside,
You can hear the treetops
respond,the window creak
and if you look
the world is in motion, swaying

Humanity and our days change
But nature is relatively constant
Now, green and verdant
Bursting past spring to a Northern California summer
like it has for thousands of years
before we settled here, along the river.

The birds and the grass don’t know
that we no longer congregate in groups
we no longer sit together in halls
or ball parks or concerts or theaters.
We no longer wander museums, scratching 
our heads at modern art
and we don’t ride the train or the subway or
the metro anymore

We haven’t gotten close enough to
someone strange
to sniff their hair
or to observe the color of their eyes and how the
rim around the light caramel brown is darker
and how there are chips of color
scattered on the iris

The squirrels, the geese, the fish don’t know
and they don’t hardly care
even if they could put a name on it.

But the wind still blows, pushing clouds
across a wide western sky.
The trees continue to lean and sway.
The river water continues its rushing journey.

They are older than us. Here before. Here after.
How small our discomfort is
when viewed against this backdrop.
A backdrop of sky and stars
clouds, wind, sun setting
where it always has.

How small we are.
How big everything else.
How big.

It will endure.

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