Saturday, December 26, 2020

the need for shelter

I went into 2020 with the idea that fallout was happening, and I just needed to light a candle, stack the canned goods and hug my kids; do some push ups on the concrete floor, run in place and read my kids all their best books in all the best voices I could muster. Then go to the second string and third string stories, bake the cakes and make everything as bright as possible. Turn on the golden lights and imagine they are the sun. Tell stories about that. Sing songs and wash clothes, stay underground and wait. 

Do all this and time will pass. Eventually the quiet will be consistent, the unwanted interferences will stop, there will be no feeling that the Trojan horse is on its way to my doorstep. I just had to wait, wait emphatically. And do it all, do all that waiting and living, as gracefully as possible-- be open with my kids, honest in a way that is bright and clear, but also stay out of the really dark corners, and work to stay away from absolutes-- and all would come through. I'd unlock the door, stick my head out of the shelter, and all would be well, better than I'd left it.

But, as you know, 2020 went along with all this. It leveled the ground, made all exceptions absolutes. We all ended up with the idea that fallout was happening, and all of our fallouts happened concurrently. So there we were: separate mostly, all with the need for a candle and a stack of canned goods, push ups and high knees, and the honest-to-God good work of everyday, of mustering the best face that one can possibly make when right in the middle of chaos and stasis. 

And because of all the shelters we had to build or find, my need for shelter blended right in, and that was just fine. The physical space of 2020 and the personal space of the individual in 2020 kept together, and they kept to themselves. That's how self preservation happens, I think. That small space between shelter and God forbid is where we make our most important decisions. With our chins to our chests and eyes down, we lean into that small space between chaos and stasis and choose based on the parts of ourselves that we often do not consciously understand. It is there, in that space, where it is impossible to communicate the difference between everything and nothing.