On March 13, 2020 my daughter and I went into Star Market and were aghast at what we saw. From "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic":
There was no way we could have ever been prepared for what we experienced at Star Market. We first went to Trader Joe's where we like to buy certain items. The shelves were bare but Ruth Anne noted, "There's the eggplant!" (Referencing the story I told her about the Blizzard of 1978, when the only thing we could buy to cook was eggplant.) We aborted the mission and headed to Star Market.
There were no carriages and when we asked one of the managers where we could get a cart, she said, "They are all in use. Just wait until you see what's happening in here!"
They made an announcement for all staff to attend to carriage control and we were assertive without being aggressive to secure our cart. There was plenty of produce except for white potatoes. People were wearing masks and gloves. The fish counter and meat shelves were well stocked but there was not a box of pasta or jar of sauce to be found. People were pushing and shoving and the panic was palpable. Ruth Anne and I stayed focused getting our essentials on what ordinarily would have been a regular grocery shopping outing. Part of Ruth Anne's healing and recovery from an autoimmune condition that caused brain inflammation is to be able to grocery shop. She has gone on a few independent shopping trips but I knew this was not going to be the day to work on those skills.
I was in awe of how we remained calm despite the empty shelves and the energy of the shoppers. We were able to maintain focus and when an item wasn't available we made substitutes or decided to keep it on the list for next week. While I went to get milk and orange juice, Ruth Anne secured our place in the long and winding check out lines.
It wasn't until Friday evening that the trauma of that trip hit us. Fortunately Tom gave us a loving ear about what we witnessed.
Last Friday, my eyes welled with tears and my heart overflowed with gratitude as we realized that the one way aisle markers at Star Market had been taken down. We were free to go up and down the aisles to get what we needed!
The CDC has said that wearing masks outdoors is optional especially if you are fully vaccinated.
My news feed on Facebook is filled with postponed holiday gatherings with clever names like "Thankschreaster" for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter now that family members are fully vaccinated.
Two big signs of hope are on my calendar in the next two weeks. For the first time since February of 2020, I have a hair appointment! I wanted to wait until infection rates were on the decline and vaccination rates were on the rise. It seems surreal that I am going to go to a hair salon again. We had been going into Boston to get our hair done but the salon was in a crowded section of downtown and was not as rigorous with precautions as we would have liked. Fortunately, one of my friend's has been going to a salon in our town for years and has a stylist that she raves about. It will be a new experience in many ways and one that I embrace with eager anticipation.
From "Hope is a Garden":
On March 12th, I walked into my pregnant chiropractor’s office.
The airwaves and social media news feeds were beginning to fill with fear and panic. I had a sense in my gut that something was terribly wrong with the messages and the methods that surrounded COVID-19.
“I don’t think they have any plan for this,” I told Dr. Lizzie.
“I’m not worried about getting the virus,” Dr. Lizzie said. “I’m worried about what’s going to happen to my business.”
Always the commensurate professional, Dr. Lizzie gave me an outstanding treatment of chiropractic care. We hugged at the end of the treatment.
“As long as things are open, I will be here,” she said.
The first email she sent outlined the precautions she would take while keeping her practice open. Two days later she said that she would have to follow the State and City guidelines and temporarily close her practice. As numbers of cases spiked, she made the decision to close her practice until January 2021 giving herself an extended maternity leave.
One week from Thursday, the day after I receive my 2nd Pfizer vaccine, I will be reunited with my chiropractor. Fourteen months after we said "I'll see you next week," I will finally get back on her table for regular adjustments. I've harnessed my meditation practice and exquisite self-care of rolling, stretching and strength training to keep everything moving as best I could during this hiatus in chiropractic care. I am proud of what I have been able to do without care, but eagerly anticipate the relief of experiencing Dr. Lizzie's skill and healing touch.
The book title, "Hope is a Garden: Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic" was inspired when we planted our first flower garden last October. This was a patch of barren ground that held hope for what would bloom in Spring, 2021.
Hope Is A Garden
Dirt stained knees
spade turning over soil
tenderly tilling the earth
lovingly placing bulbs
embodiment of expectations and hope.
Hope is a garden
holding seeds in hand
everything they need to know
ready to burst forth.
Patience and perseverance
knowing no prayers needed
all unfurls in Divine Timing.
In darkness hope stirs
light pierces through
as new life breaks ground
yet invisible to the eye
seeds of infinite possibilities
hope the harvest of imagination.
“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.” ~Lady Bird Johnson
Birds singing, tulips in full bloom on the Boston Public Gardens, people hugging, events being scheduled and joy and hope fill the air. Signs of hope are everywhere as we begin to move beyond the pain of the pandemic.
From my heart to yours
In health and wellness
For more information about my journey from childhood polio and trauma to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond, visit my website.
"Hope is a Garden:Poems and Essays From the 2020 Pandemic" along with all of my books to inspire and uplift you is available on Amazon.