Well we got our antibody test results back. We all tested negative. Our healthcare provider said that in the last batch of 50 tests he sent out only one came back positive. I have to say I'm pretty disappointed. I was planning a "Hug It Out" party with my grandkids if we tested positive. Basically it would have been a lot of hugging and cookies. The kids were fully onboard. Hugging is such a natural part of our relationships. We see each other daily but even after 10 weeks we cant seem to remember to keep our distance. Yes, we are a squeezing, hugging, snuggly family. We avoid the sloppy kisses though, no one likes those.
Our state is now in Phase I of reopening. My hope is that we will get through the three weeks without an increase in cases, move to Phase II, another three weeks of watching and then by Phase III I think I can safely go back to the hugs. So that would be around June 26, about 3 1/2 months of stay at home recommendations.
It's kind of been a "Free for All" since reopening began. We noticed last weekend that only about 10% of people were wearing masks in our home improvement store. The next couple weeks will tell whether that was a good idea or not.
There are so many people to love and be concerned for and we are the kind of people who would feel horrible if we passed on a virus that caused someone to become ill or worse die. We are playing it safe and following the recommendations and participating in the social distancing guidelines. Most importantly we are being respectful of everyone's personal sensitivity to this pandemic. Just because we feel its important to stay home and wear masks doesn't mean we can judge or be angry at folks who don't. When asked my opinion on the topic though I will humbly share my thoughts.
There are some things that are so naturally perfect that it's hard to believe they are not a miracle. There is an element of perfection in a miracle so it shouldn't surprise me that I relate the two. So what is this miracle of natural perfection I'm talking about?
Hens hatching chicks.
A hen can lay an egg a day for however many days she would like. Then when she thinks she has enough to set on she will start to "brood". It takes 21 days for the eggs to hatch. So no matter if its an egg from day one or day 14 they will both hatch on the same day. What? I don't understand that.
The eggs have to have a perfect amount of heat, humidity and rotation or they won't develop correctly. The hen's little built in thermometer/hygrometer sends her messages daily and she makes the adjustments.
Then, the whole process of a chick hatching. It has a special "egg tooth"? Are you kidding? A tooth that cuts the chick out of the egg and then goes away? It struggles and wiggles out of its shell while under the protection of it's mother's wings. Gets dried out and fluffled up in short order and looks like the quintessential spring picture of adorableness.
So, miracle or not I am in awe of God's perfect design.
On another unrelated note, I was able to get a Covid-19 antibody test last week. A blood draw of two vials and a tele-medicine check in made it fairly easy. In typical Covid fashion these days, the estimate on when the results will be back is less than specific; somewhere between 3 to 8 days. I'm curious to know not just my own results but also out of all the antibody tests they're doing now, how many people are coming back positive that they've had the virus. I'm not expecting my behavior to change from the results but I am expecting to feel more confident in going out.
COVID-19 continues. It's been about 7 weeks now since just about everything closed down. I had intended to blog daily during this pandemic but the work on our farm doesn't close down. Spring in all its glory is one of the busiest times of the year. This year in addition we made some moves for family members that have kept us busy. Our daughters family bought a new home leaving the rental home on our property empty which was instantly filled with my 86 year old mother. Who, by the way, was ecstatic to be taken from her studio apartment quarantine with cold meals delivered three times daily.
Spring on our farm means pruning, weeding, fertilizing, tilling, planting, and animal husbandry. Every day is a new prioritization puzzle. Often it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work and we go back and forth with "why are we living in the country again?" Yes, developing a one step at a time perspective has proven its worth. This year the outdoor work has been a good distraction from the constant Covid coverage and discussion.
What might you expect to see in the Logger's lunchbox in the spring?
This little beauty. We called them Lady Slippers. They are a beautiful little orchid growing in the Cascade mountain range of Oregon. Amongst the moss and shade of towering Douglas fir its impossible for a flower lover to explain the rush of excitement when walking in the forest and finding such an ornate gem. Stories of adorning a fairy princess issue forth from its magic. Its delicate coloring and petals appear other worldly in the sometimes stark and unforgiving Oregon rainforest.
.A soft bed of damp moss placed in the Loggers lunchbox and two gently picked Lady Slippers were nestled away. Looking like a very fit location for the shoes of a queen the lid closed.
So, today I've been making face masks, cloth face masks. As the pandemic emerged the public health information system adamantly told us that we did NOT need to wear face masks. News agencies said that the research shows that people can actually get sicker when they wear face masks. The theory was that when people wear face masks they touch their faces more than usual and are always messing around with the mask, therefore likely bringing more virus into contact with their skin, eyes, and mouth. Well, recently all of that information has done a 180 degree turn around. The CDC is now recommending that all people wear a cloth face mask when outside. They are pleading that we not use the health care quality face masks, they need to be utilized for the front line health care people who need them most. The emphasis is on keeping your sickness away from other people not to prevent yourself from getting sick.
Almost instantly after the CDC recommendation to wear masks came out, the social shaming began. I began to wonder, what if someone yells at me in the produce department for wearing the mask that the hospital gave me two years ago when my mom had the flu? I don't want to draw attention to myself and risk someone yelling at me. Last week a woman had just got off work at an optometrist and wearing her scrubs into the store she was heckled and yelled at by the other customers eventually ending up on national news. Yikes, who wants that? So, here I am making cloth masks today because I need to go give my mom some personal hygiene supplies and pick up some groceries tomorrow.
And the daily effects of this pandemic roll on......
Again? On this Covid thing? Yes, it is.
Sorry, thoughts keep bubbling up that seem too important to leave off this topic. I'm not sure if those thoughts will diminish soon since they keep extending the social distancing guidelines but it is what it is and I might as well run the topic into the ground.
So during WWII when resources were short there was a big push for people to grow their own food. It was called a Victory Garden. Mom, Pop and kids all chipped in to support the war efforts and as this poster says, "Make your rations go further".
Apparently, I absorbed some of this idea. For when the Covid crisis hit and shelves started clearing out in stores and other people were standing in line to be the first in the door at Costco, I was hurriedly on Amazon ordering seeds. I felt passionate that if food was going to be an issue I was going to use the dirt on my land to feed my family. They will not starve I told myself. I know its March and it's tough to get seeds started but it is my duty. I hovered over my flats and raised beds waiting for those seeds to sprout. I coddled them through freezing temperatures and protected them from hungry Bluejays. I did it with a passion I usually don't have for a garden. Even more so, I wept when the little seeds sprouted and began to show their green. I anxiously called family and said, "We're going to be okay. My seeds are sprouting!" As ridiculous and odd as that may sound it was incredibly therapeutic. It gave me something to do, something in my life I could control when everything else seemed to spin out of control.
It made me think about my grandmother, who lived through those years trying to raise children. Her husband would go shoot grouse for dinner and they ate what they could harvest from their victory garden and the woods. One evening she and her brood were invited to dinner at a friends. She was so excited about what food they might experience. The host said, "Tonight we have a real treat for you. We are having grouse." Wah….wah…..For me to know of this story almost 80 years later, it must have made quite the impression on her.
The power inside a seed, to change from a dark, dry, bland looking circle to a living green plant is almost unfathomable. Then for that small little sprout to continue to grow and become lush and full of edible fruit and create seeds to reproduce itself is more than fascinating, it's divine! It's like my children. There is so much potential in a human life. Potential that can only be speculated about at birth. I've lived long enough to see that potential explode in my kids. To see life and passion thrive and grow in them makes my heart pound and I catch my breath. Unbounded hope. The gift of life. Seeds are planted and seeds grow and we have so relatively little to do with it - simply miraculous.
So, there is an old parable that I'm sure you've heard. A group of blind men gather around an elephant, not knowing what it is. Each feels a different part of the elephants body and then describes what this "thing" is that they are near. Each has his own take based on his location, senses, experiences and perspective; a tree trunk, a thick snake, a fan, a wall and a spear. In some respects each is accurate but in the most obvious respect they couldn't be more wrong.
As I listen to the various opinions about the proper course of action for the Covid crisis, I think of this parable. It seems that there are the healthcare professionals, the economists, the politicians, and the citizens. All groups are giving accurate descriptions based on their education, experience, senses and world view. However, I ask myself who is out there looking at the elephant? Who has the forward thinking ability to see the situation in its entirety?
Yes, we will learn lessons from this pandemic that will hopefully benefit our world. We will have better tools in our toolbox if we should face this again. Yes, I believe failure can often be the best teacher. Yes, fortunes can be made during this time. Yes, people's lives might be forever changed and destroyed. Yes, generations who have never lived through a national, let alone global, crisis will walk away with a sober edge to their personalities and their kids will say, "Well, they lived through the Covid pandemic. That's why they're like that now". People will realize the value of one another in a new and profound way. Good, bad, ugly and beautiful will spring forth, but wouldn't it be great if we knew that we weren't just a bunch of blind men trying to figure out what all this means?
Do we have anyone seeing the elephant, seeing the big picture? I believe so. There is a master mind behind this pandemic. There is a controller of events. There is a Logos, a mind with a plan, that designed every wise and every ignorant decision. This Logos knows that every day is going exactly as planned; every life lost, every up and down in the stock market, every grieving heart, every smile, every lost job, every snuggle, every empty toilet paper shelf, every phone call or face time connection, and literally every single doggone thing happening on this giant ball at every single moment of every day. The Logos should strike you as rather ominous. You might even be afraid. Should we grab the pitchforks and hunt it down? Should we strive to liberate this world from the Logos? How come my favorite conspiracy media outlet hasn't let me know about this?
I know who the Logos is and I'm not afraid. The Logos has operated long before this pandemic. The Logos has brought me pain before but honestly I wouldn't fight any of the pain I've had even if I were able. The Logos has planned a resiliency of this earth and life for countless years. Life always wins. I urge you to search for the Logos. It will bring you great comfort and peace. The Logos knows you and will guide you.
So starting this blog in the midst of the Covid-19 virus may lead you to believe that I am giving voice to only the Freudian psychoanalytical side of my nature. Not true. I would rather be writing about why my blog is called "The Logger's Lunchbox" or the wonders of nature in the pacific northwest or my latest favorite recipe or memories of growing up in the 1960's. However, it never makes sense to avoid the Covidophant in the room. So, today I want to write not about the disease and how it affects people physically. My loved ones, knock on wood, have not been touched by it as of today. I want to talk about the stress response as something that has become unfortunately too clear as of late.
When children go through a difficult time in their lives they often gather things around themselves to make them feel secure or to communicate what they feel by an outward sign. I'm thinking of blankets, teddy bears, which by the way I just saw an adorable photograph of a little boy looking out of his apartment window wearing a face mask. Next to him was his teddy bear snuggled in his arms also wearing a face mask. Oh, so touching. Another touching image to illustrate my point is a story of a little girl whose family has been torn apart by horrible events and she has decided that she needs to walk with crutches. Day and night, a bandage around her foot, she walks with the crutches. Even I can see how profound that picture is, she is showing the brokenness and pain inside herself with a literal crutch to get her through.
I had a moment of enlightenment recently. My husband had gone through a terrible non-Covid respiratory infection that lasted for weeks. I swear I must have been worried about it a whole lot more than I realized based on the sore jaw in the morning from clenching my teeth so much at night. But the teeth clenching wasn't the enlightenment. The enlightenment came when he started a new antibiotic and woke up less than 24 hours later feeling great. I was so happy but I found myself going why aren't I even more happy than I am? It's because stress does not leave your body the way that an infection leaves. Stress takes time to heal. Stress takes contemplation to heal. Stress takes a hard workout to heal. Stress needs proof that it doesn't need to fight or flee to heal. Most importantly, stress takes reminding yourself of the truths that bring you hope. For me those truths are found in my faith.
So when the Covid curve is flattened and heading down and when schools, restaurants and stores open. When the news doesn't have an "Alert" every 10 minutes. When I can grab my loved ones for a hug and snuggle my grandkids. When I go to the grocery store and have a friendly conversation with someone over the bell peppers. Will I be happy? Oh, yes extremely so. I will feel like having a street party dance-a-thon. Realistically though, there will be so much healing left to be done. Time will tell how our global psyche responds to this crisis. Will we find hope in our faith? Will we treasure our freedoms more? Will we even realize that we need time to heal? It would be tragic for us to trade one crisis for another.
Final note to self - seek mental healing for the tremendous amount of Covid stress.
Stay safe and healthy.
Animals can communicate with their bodies, eyes and sounds sure but me, I am human, I have a voice. A voice given to me by the Divine Creator. Did God create us with a voice to remain quiet? Perhaps, I have certainly given myself and others loads of misery by using my voice. Did God create us to just make noise? Probably not, since nothing can be more irritating than a child in the back seat of a car audibly shooting his imaginary machine gun for miles and miles.
I have heard people say that we have a voice in order to praise God. If that's true then according to the percentage of time I spend praising God with my voice I am failing miserably. However, the bottom line is that God gave us a voice. It is so often misused, in fact so often that its common to hear of people choosing to take vows of silence. I've never tried to do that. I suppose that someday when I have an extra 15 minutes I'll give it a try. Not now though. Now, I've decided its time to use my voice. A voice that comes from a world view and a set of unique experiences. I expect that it won't be overly exciting or profound or even mildly entertaining to "hear" my voice. When my voice is no longer heard on this earth you and I will know that it existed and it fulfilled the reason it was given.
So here we go, stay tuned.