By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe
Charles Dickens penned, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” possibly the most fitting first lines ever written for the situation we are currently living in. Certainly, in the 1800s, there were no respirators, oxygen tanks, or protective personal devices. Doctors were unable to offer antibiotics or treatments for respiratory illnesses. Like Dickens and many people today, his fictional characters experienced uncertainty, illness, and financial hardship. It took hundreds of pages and multiple conflicts for the main character to emerge, appreciating life and circumstance.
These are concepts I am still learning: to be thankful for the moment, to live each day, to intentionally love the people around me.
As I gaze from our windows, the neighborhood is aflutter. The birds are noisily courting, searching frantically for nesting locations and materials. Mr. Cardinal is a smooth one, gently feeding his mate various nuts and fruits at our feeder. The house finches inspect the wreath near our front door, scattering whenever I leave the house. A bluebird pair scrutinizes a box atop our picket fence, but the old dwelling doesn’t quite meet muster.
Across the road, swans glide on the lake, their necks arched and regal. The sandhill cranes circle the sky in pairs, their distinctive calls ruffling the quiet of my morning.
Soon, all these various couples will calm a bit and settle into their abodes and routines.
During this time of sheltering in place, I also find myself in the process of nesting. And I’ve been practicing for this present period of intensity my whole life. I had years of warming up: taking care of my dollies as a little girl, caring for my younger brothers, babysitting neighborhood children.
I was stretching out for decades: establishing our home nearly forty years ago, raising our children to adulthood, planning for and attending to my high school students.
And now, here I am in this marathon. It has taken me over a month to reach any sense of peace in this time of isolation. We speak to our immediate family members daily and catch glimpses of neighbors on their walks. We hold regular Skype meetings with family and friends, and I continue to reach out to my high school students.
At this moment, everyone I love is healthy. Yes, we are fortunate.
I am trying recipes and learning to use new computer programs. The three of us spend time sharing a meal, playing games, or quietly reading books from our various locations. Yes, we are remembering and getting back to what is important.
But, no, it hasn’t been easy for any of us, or for anyone in our community, state, nation, or world.
Finding the positive in our current circumstance is my new focus. I hope I am moving from a mindset of “the worst of times” to something resembling, maybe not “the best of times,” but to “the most centering of times.” To recognizing this as a quiet period of feathering my nest.
I hope you can do the same.
It’s a Fine Life
You can follow Kathy on her blog: itsafinelife.com