Mary Beth Writes

Something I read recently - and something someone rhetorically asked me - pursue the same question.

When will this end? How can we live well in the middle of this scary, divisive, devastating pandemic?

I have no precise or particular answer but I do see it through two lenses.

Politics. Story.

Part of the Misery of Now is the Politics of Now. We observe the chaos brought upon all of us by the lack of a plan (even though the Obama team left a plan). If we pay attention to the news the main theme is the divisiveness, the stalemating, the this governor vs Trump, and Trump vs that reporter who was asking a legitimate question, and then the others who are Trump’s backbone stating that the problem is not the paucity of plans or planners, but the media, and on and on it goes. Scientists being second-guessed by politicians who couldn’t figure out how to get out of a locked cardboard box. The politics of money and the politics of power; usually they are about the same thing. Unless one is waiting for money. Then it is about the politics of “Where is the money?”

It is legitimate to pay attention to this. Not paying attention, not knowing some of the names and some of the plays and players reduces us. Power is happening. We don’t put out a fire by turning our back on it to pick the flowers across the street. If you haven’t watch PBS News Hour lately, watch the first 10-15 minutes of it a few times per week. There really are smart people out there who are working hard to talk to smart people.

But there is also a Story going on. Dixie and Michol, Franc and Joyce and others of you have written some really good comments lately. Quarantine is not awful all the time. For some of us, this is a breather in complicated lives. Lessening of income is scary. Losing financial security is scary. Not knowing what will happen to us economically or health-wise is scary.

But buying less, going no place, tipping more to the individuals who help us, seeing the people in our neighborhoods play with their kids – these are powerful differences. Going to bed without worrying about tomorrow’s to-do list because it isn’t critical, this is different. Gaining 4 pounds around our middle while losing 27 pounds of anxiousness about things we can’t fix. Okay. There is a story going on here.

You hear parts of mine. Walking more. Saw a turtle. Visiting nesting ospreys. Reading to my grandchild. (Apparently the Blue Angels were flying over Chicago today. She called them the Blue Aprons. Thus the photos….) My neighbor across the street walks her baby once a day, her dog twice a day, and herself three times a day. People are planting more and bigger gardens. People are adopting dogs and cats! My son works for a bicycle manufacturing company, last weekend they had one of the biggest day of sales in their history. 

There is the politics of this pandemic. There are our stories playing out.

When you can’t stand any more of the political craziness, turn away and look at your story, the story of people in your neighborhood, the ones you see out your window. Len and I made this rule years ago. When you see the same neighborhood dog the second time, you can name it. The dog doesn’t care and you have made your life more whimsical.

When stories get too cloying, pay attention to politics again. One story is a story. When 85,000 people die, those stories become the next wave of politics.

We are in a crisis. Crises are about stories and politics and stories.

I haven’t got anything else today. It’s sunny outside and Len is in the yard doing things and in about five minutes, I’m going to be there, too. 




To quote Laura Ingalls Wilder, "It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all". With so many untruths being thrown around at press conferences these days, I love the idea of turning to our own lives and looking for the everyday joys. Be it Osprey (we had one diving for fish in the cove in back of our house...very exciting), newly budding trees, our neighbor's shrub plantings or maybe my cat peeking out from under the Sweet Pepper Bush. Thanks for the reminder to stop and take a breath.

I've been watching PBS news hour every night since before this epidemic started and continue to do so... Then I turn inside and look at my life in these times... I just got back shortly from a 25mi bike ride and I'm sore yet somehow healthier because of it, excercise has been a large part of by covid regimen... I'm seeing the body changes show up before my eyes as I watch my father's body transform to something I'm liking better... I'm one of the lucky retired people who is financially secure and so I can pass some of that along to those people I care about who still depend on money coming in... The relationship that has been forming at about the same time as this damn epidemic is growing stronger dispite the fact that we still haven't met in person.( When that will happen is anyone's guess ) As for that bike ride, I took a detour on my way back home to a park with the most wonderful pathways leading into a woods full of wild flowers in full bloom... I let the child in me get off the bike and enjoy the large swathes of Trillium, May Apple, Dog Tooth violet, and Rue up close with only the birds to share it with... ¿Who says there's nothing to do during this time of social distancing? Open your eyes and take a real close look at the world around you like you've never done before... Who knows what you might see, it could be mud, or it could be a turtle... Let your child's eye do the seeing and enjoy...
Leonard's picture

Stories gain power because they give us a way of understanding changes that are happening in the world, but the changes themselves are mostly happening because of politics. They're both important. I watch PBS and listen to NPR. But, mostly, I want to know where Franc is riding his bike.

Lenard the name of the park is "Sam Poerio Park" I saw it from the bike path on my way into Kenosha... I rode to Gateway then headed back to Racine, took a little detour and rode into the park... Just past the parking and playgrounds there are several gravel paths one can take to a river and an old railroad bridge... A train came through as I was taking pictures of the wildflowers... It's peaceful and gorgeous... If you search Kenosha parks and hit Poerio Park they have about 80 photos of the place... It's going to be my new go to when in Kenosha...

Add new comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Susan's Birthday Questions 10/19/2020

(One decorates for October birthdays with orange trees.) 

Last week was my birthday. My niece Susan sometimes sends me birthday greetings where she asks excellent questions. She doesn’t know I still have the card she sent six years ago; I meant to answer her questions in the blog I had then, but I never got around to it.

Stereotypes Day

Today is October 12th - Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Not Columbus Day, okay?

I was in the process of giving birth to one of our kids and it was getting on towards midnight. The midwife wondered whether our baby would be born on the day we were in or whether it would be a few more minutes and then the child would have the next day as their birthday.

10/11/2020 This Crazy Advent We're In Now

This painting is by Andrea Kowch


Regarding Time: It’s been about a million months since the quarantine started. It will be an at least one epoch if not two, until a vaccine is available to quell it. Election Day is here now (I’ve already voted, have you?) yet it feels as if it will never be done and gone. Even when Nov 3 arrives we could be in for more epochs of anxious and angry waiting as ballots are tallied, argued over, recounted, all while lawyers and politicians fight and scrap.

Quarantine Diary #204 10/4/2020 3 Short Takes

Three things to say today and none are about our goatish, swag-bellied, canket-blossomed president. How to create a Shakespearean insult. 

1. I just read this WONDERFUL and REMARKABLE book! The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Quarantine Diary #200 The Debate

Regarding that Debate. 

I’ve been at a zoo when a cranky monkey starts throwing poop. That remembrance came to me last night. Watching Uncle Joe try to answer questions while Trump trash talked everybody and everything except white supremacists – that was damn ugly.

Quarantine Diary #198 Who we still are ...

I’ve been trying and trying to write but it hasn’t happened so this morning I looked at some of my old stuff and found this from ten days after 9/11. Made me remember who we are.

I think the miserable karma of Trump is happening. I hope we will be okay. I’m not sure how talk about the harm he has done and is doing now. 

But we … we are still who we are.

The flowers in the photo were a surprise gift, just yesterday, from a friend.

I have edited it a bit. 

September 21, 2001 Lost in Racine - An Aftermath of Civility

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes AARPtaxes AAUW Acadia Accountable apples Arrows Augustine baby balance Baldwin Barkskins Beauty Becky Berry birthday bistro BookReport boy scout Bread BrokenDays BuyAngry Cahokia calendars Canada cello Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus clouds Clowns clutter comet ComfortZone CommonSense consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport CrimeShows death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering Detroit Dreams Duty eBay Eclipse EmilyDickinson FairTrade farmer firealarm Fitness Five Flexible flu Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode ghosts GovernorThompsonStatePark groceries Guatemala guns happiness HaveYouEver? Healthinsurance HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope HouseinBlueRiver hurricane impeachment Innkeeper integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich justice Karen Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Love Ludington Macaw Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Mayan MayaWorks MindfulChickens Mistakes Mother MothersDay mouser movies museums must-haves New York City Nomadland OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon poetry Preaching privacy Protest Quern quest Rabbit holes racism recipe recipes Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement RitesofPassage Roses Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes SaraRodriguez sculpture Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory sick sickness snow Social Security SofritoBandito SpaceShuttle spring square feet staining Stereotypes StoryStarts Survival swim taxes teenager Thanksgiving ThePerpetualYou ThreeBillBoards TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle UnrelatedObservations urgency vacation Valentines vanilla Vietnam VivianWokeUpDrowning vole WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving wedding WhyAttendChurch WillaCather
Ad Promotion