April 4, 2020, Sitka, Alaska
As the days go by, I get more nervous. It’s like waiting for the shoe to drop. Will I have traveled through four airports with lines and crowded waiting areas and sitting for hours in the close confines of economy class without picking up the bug? I have a cough, but then again, I also have a sneeze, itchy eyes and post nasal drip. It’s April in Alaska. Still I almost compulsively take my temperature. So far so good, for both of us.
Being confined at home is not a great hardship. I’m sitting more than 100 feet above Jamestown Bay, with Mt. Edgecumbe to the west and the Gulf of Alaska beyond. I have a south-southwest exposure so I catch the sun and, since it is not so far from the equinox, I can see the effects of the sunset even though the sunset has swung too far west for me to see it actually fall below the horizon.
We are able to keep “in community” through zoom, attending church, meetings and even a virtual dance party. We talk to friends on the phone and with Facebook app, play games with our grandkids in Minnesota. During breaks in the virtual dance party we had time for conversation. I asked what was the social distancing etiquette when you meet someone on a trail and there’s not six feet to pass” A pharmacist wondered how to handle masks for employees when they take them off to have coffee. To they reuse it? Put it in the laundry? The best answer came from Perry who said that since we’ve had no known infections on the island, we have some time to rehearse social distancing to get it right.
The community has supported us, food in the larder, calls on the phone to see how we are doing, texts offering to run errands. Today friends brought us the mail and butter.
I’ve spent time arranging business. A couple of days ago I cut some fundraising spots for Raven Radio at home and emailed them in. I finished by cruise blog and posted it, trying to end on a positive note while following the saga of Amsterdam’s sistership Zaandam. And I’m trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing for the community during this lockdown.
We’re confined to our property until April 8. So, I walk up and down our driveway and take pictures of the advancing spring. Evenings have been cool, in the 20s, and afternoons have gotten up to 40. The lilies, daffodils, and tulips are beginning to pop up, although not flower, but the crocuses have popped and there are bees moving back and forth between plants.
I take pictures of spring, along with pictures of the sunsets and post them. The response is hundreds of likes and lots of comments. Apparently, my blog has also made some people happy, arm chair travelers, folks could not take this cruise and cruise mates who have thanked me for the positive ending.
So that’s my job right now, make people happy by posting signs of spring, pictures of sunsets and stories I think up. When I can leave my yard, I’ll resume my walks on our trails, keeping social distance, and get into the car to see if the whales really are feeding on herring in Silver Bay. Communications has always been my job; except I am used to having a radio station behind me. Ever practical Suzi is doing something useful, sewing facemasks.
In my cruise blog I said I would not be one of those people who looked at the schedule and thought “If we were still on the cruise, we’d be in the Seychelles now.” That isn’t helpful and takes away from the positive experience we did have. However, my sub conscious isn’t there. In my dreams I’m still on the ship, I wake up knowing what day it is. “Oh, it’s a sea day, I can roll over.” Or “Today we’re in Colombo, I better get out of bed.” As I catch myself rolling out, I stop, “Wait, you’re home dummy, you have nowhere to go this morning. In fact, you’re forbidden to go anywhere.” I roll over and go back to sleep only to have the same dream and an hour later wake up thinking I need to prepare for a day in some exotic port. They’re not bad dreams. In fact, they’re pretty nice. It’s just not what I expected.
But now I’m sitting here watching a blue sea and bluer sky where yesterday there was a snow squall and the day before a stunning sunset. It’s spring in Alaska, the herring are in the sound, the whales, sealions and everyone else (except, this year, the commercial fishermen) is here to feed on them. Right now, Sitka is where I need to be.