In January, we celebrated the beginning of a new decade by shouting “Happy New Year” at the stroke of midnight. More resolute than usual, our hearts were filled with optimism and our souls sensed new possibilities. We were blissfully unaware of the Coronavirus as we grabbed the one closest to us for a midnight kiss.
On Friday, March 13th, Lake County was caught in the virus’ crosshairs. The virus was spreading throughout the world, and our rural county had to shut its doors to prevent the unwelcome guest from running rampant in its streets. Students did not return to school on Monday, March 16th. Teachers scrambled to move lessons online, and reached out to those students who don’t have access to the internet as they worried about their own health and family. Lake County announced a “shelter in place” order later that week.
I did what I always do. I wrote poetry. Writing is cathartic; I reintroduced myself to an effervescence of spirit in the minuscule moments I could steal from my busy, stressful days. My poems weren’t necessarily upbeat; nonetheless, the process of writing them brightened me.
Like all of you, I’m adjusting to this new lifestyle. No facet of my life is unaffected by the pandemic. I’m teaching classes from home. I’m homeschooling a teenager. I’m standing in line for toilet paper at 7:00 a.m. in a mask. I’m dealing with the personal and professional challenges of a “shelter in place” order, and when I get the chance, I’m writing. The following series of poems is dedicated to all of the students who are “sheltered in place” at home.