Just two Sundays ago, heading south on the Seward Highway, David and I turned around just about at Girdwood and headed back to Anchorage; the wind was fierce, the roads were icy, and heavy snow was forecasted later in the day. This tends to happen in the winter in Alaska, so no big deal, it’s why we make extra trips to Spring Creek in the summer in the hopes it will all balance out. But now, living in the current state of things, where the DOC has revoked all volunteer and visitor privileges… well I wonder if we should have just trudged on, weather and roads be damned. It’s strange that in the midst of unprecedented uncertainty in our world I find myself spending so much time thinking about seven incarcerated men and hoping they are doing ok. It’s hard enough being on the outside and feeling absolutely powerless, but remove yourself from all that by the power of 100 and I still don’t think we could grasp what it’s like to be inside at a time like this. But hey… at least we’d all have toilet paper.
This week has felt like two weeks (actually scratch that, more like a month) in one. Yesterday I helped my best friend close down her restaurant that I help out at once in a while for the next few weeks; freezing what she could squeeze into her freezer and doling out the rest to myself and her other barista. “Boil this ham,” she said while smiling and handing me a giant ziplock bag full of black forest cubes, “you can give it to Sochi.” I thanked her and smiled back, thinking how much our rescue dog Sochi will love that.
Closing down the espresso machine, I felt like I was going to cry. I found myself feeling as though I was saying goodbye to an old friend; a friend who has taught me so many valuable skills in such a short amount of time, both reinforcing my strengths while simultaneously showing me my weaknesses. I get flustered, I’m impatient and way too hard on myself but I’m also kind and laugh a lot, am a sloppy artistic version of a perfectionist and absolutely love making espresso drinks. Shortly after that I found myself wondering: Is this the point? Is this a pause, a break in our rut to sit in our rooms and think about what we’ve done, what we’ve all been doing? To reflect and examine the things in our lives that are or aren’t working, what we need to let go and what we want to consciously keep?
I heard the phrase “clusterfuck of sorrows” today at work on a podcast I was listening to and it just sort of stuck with me. I always appreciate a good line from a song, a catchy phrase or clever saying. Even though this podcast was from a couple of years ago, it just seemed appropriate for the state I was in at the time. Perhaps it has taken me all week for things to really sink in; my hours at work reduced, the yoga studio my husband teaches at closed, our programming for Turiya suspended, my best friend’s (among other) restaurant closed, parking lots normally packed to the brim with Subarus eerily empty and people hoarding supplies to the point where grocery store shelves are bare. If there ever was a time for a “clusterfuck of sorrows” to apply, it would be right now. Right?
So now let’s switch to a simpler, non-judgmental perspective: our pets. You are excited. Your human is home more. Maybe they feed you black forest ham. Maybe they take you on extra walks or throw more balls for you to catch and maybe spend some extra time cuddling with you. There’s more playing, more sticks, more balls of yarn (or whatever it is that cats do… I’m a dog person obvi). And who better to deserve more love and attention than the furry creatures that stick by us no matter what?
So, for now, I can at least smile about that.