One thing good about Martha’s Vineyard being seasonal is that every year when the tourist season ends and everyone goes home, the island has a chance to heal from the summer onslaught. ~ Susan Branch
In this time of lockdown or Movement Control Order, it is all too easy to focus on the dark and the negative. On the mounting death toll. On the risks. On the endless what-if’s. I’ve lived too much of my life under the shadow of fear and I won’t go there now. Nonetheless, I’m not buying into the bliss of intentional ignorance either. That’s irresponsible. We must do what we must to be safe and to keep others safe too.
It is a time of genuine worry and fear. But there’s something else too. Something beautiful out of all this pain and uncertainty.
It is a time of healing
We need to heal from our dependency on the heady brew of the conveniences of daily life. We need to heal from takeaways, home deliveries and online shopping, just to name a few. They have made things so easy for us, and many of us have come to depend quite a bit on such services. And that’s fine.
But sometimes, we take our dependency too far. We make excuses to use these services to avoid going out even when it’s safe to do so. We deprive ourselves of a good walk in the sun. We choose to instead stare and pin pictures of spring blooms instead of stepping out and feasting on the many surprises which surround us. We send each other online bouquets or use florist services instead of making up a small posy of blooms from our own little plots.
When we return home tired from work, the takeaway beckons enticingly, and we tell ourselves we need a break, that a meal prepared from scratch, even a simple one, is too much of trouble. It’s fine when it’s an occasional option, but sometimes, we let ourselves go and make it a habit, and too soon, it becomes something we cannot do without.
In my little town where we are free from at least the stress of traffic and long lines, many of my townspeople have come to overly rely on food services and food vendors for their daily meals. Eating out is not a luxury here. From the wealthiest to the poorest, almost everyone either dines out or sends out for food. On the rare occasion that people cook, there’s again that heavy reliance on ready made dips and marinades.
They want Grandma’s cooking but someone’s got to do all the heavy lifting for them.
Over time, little by little, we begin to lose all that was bequeathed to us from generations before. We either forgo gardens or we procure the services of professional gardeners. We search out restaurants and cafés for the warm memories of old kitchens and food cooked with love. We don’t trouble ourselves cooking for our kids and family. We prefer to work than to return home to the whining and groaning of our kids. We hire home tutors and use that as an excuse to remain longer at work because that’s so much easier on our tempers than to struggle with our children over homework and exam preps.
But with a lockdown, with restricted movement, all our previous refuges have to be vacated. We can’t go to work. Restrictions take away the luxury of some of the services that have become an unhealthy staple in our lives. It’s a terrible time. But even with Stay At Home orders, life still needs to go on. We need to make important financial decisions. But kids need to learn too. Family needs to be fed. House needs to be cleaned. Other needs need to be met as well. But no one’s there any more to do it for us.
We’re on our own
It can be daunting, it can be frustrating. Some days can be hour after hour of mistake after mistake. But times like this can also be beautiful. Just like that beautiful island that benefitted from tourist dollars needs the rest of the year to heal from the effects of tourism, we too need this downtime to heal from certain conveniences that might have made life easier but also eroded life of value.
We heal by going back to basics. We heal by simplicity. We heal by doing things ourselves as opposed to always depending on someone else.
We heal by taking the time to do things. We heal by stepping back from rush and speed and instead, begin to savour moments.
We’ve been given a gift. Let’s take it. Let’s go home to heal.
In St. Louis, the restaurants are still allowed carryout service, and delivery, I think. Has that been banned where you live? (BTW, I loved the point of your post, I’m just curious! The restrictions seem to change by the hour, and vary depending on where we live, so it’s hard to keep up.)
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Gosh, Ann, I thought it’d be far better in the US. That’s the order here as well for the food industry but they seem to be going back and forth on it, Ann. One day it’s allowed and then next it’s not. One day someone says you have to close by 7pm and then someone else says there’s no such edict. But that’s how it always was here – except for a brief 1 year and 9 months we enjoyed under the previous government.
I think that because eating out/ takeaways was so popular before, the early days of the Stay Home order made people excited to be home and cooking (and posting the photos on social media). It’s like a competition in this community. It’s not so much the act of cooking at home – what gets people here excited is the competition (and the sly showing-off).
Still, if they are cooking at home, I think it’s great, because many people here keep away from their kitchens not so much because they’re tired from work. They are addicted to social media, to messaging groups and to online shopping. They can’t bear to be separated from their phones. In this country, even at traffic light stops, you will see people on their phones.
So, if they’re home and cooking – for whatever reason – I’m so happy for that.
I just hope it lasts because here, people get bored very easily.
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Sadly, the States are kind of a mess, too. It doesn’t help that it’s an election year. They keep changing the rules as well, so it’s hard to keep up. And every time they come up with more restrictions, the panic buying increases dramatically. We’ll just have to ride this out! But I agree, eating at home, and sitting down to a home-cooked meal, had become a lost art for so many people. Now most people are doing it, and maybe will continue to do so after this is over. We can only hope.
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