Love in a Time of Covid19


I started some weeks ago looking around to assess which of my neighbors in this raggletag neighborhood might be elderly and in need of extra support in this time of social distancing. Then I realized I’m elderly too…a little, around the edges, you might say. The idea made me smile, because of its sheer absurdity.

I may have arthritis and a skunk-streak of silver in my formerly black hair, but I can swing a pick axe to dig out a new vegetable bed, just fine. I can do hours of field work on my garden, or hours in the studio, or hours at the computer writing a novel, and it’s all work, and feels pretty good until the end of day, when some joints are impolite enough to comment on excessive enthusiasm. Spoilsports.

One thing I figure I can do is to keep my give-away bin streetside filled with citrus and fresh hot peppers. Washington navels, Fremont tangerines, Eureka lemons, Minneola tangelos, Trovita navels and Roberts, kumquats and Mexican limes. Sometimes strawberry guavas as well. I’m picking with disposable gloves on and not washing the fruit, and I put out a short note on the box telling the public I’m using gloves, also requesting people to select with their eyes and take all that they touch.

Oranges in bin

Now the local hospital is calling for not only factory-made masks, but home sewn ones. Another new job, and so I started thinking about how many pleats I should put in and whether I could insert a new twist tie to help the wearer mold the nose more tightly. Then I read an article  and quote from it here “Penetration of cloth masks by particles was almost 97% and medical masks 44%”. So, no wonder they speak of the false sense of security that anything under a N-95 mask gives.

Thinking the project over, I believe it still makes sense to sew and donate masks. Here’s my thinking– over all, these masks protect not the wearer but the others who meet with that wearer. So if every suspected case upon entrance to the ER dons one, this may help protect the ER staff, our most valued resource. And if I can figure out how to do a fast turnaround, I might be able to create enough of these to preserve half a box worth of medical masks for the medical staff or the intake volunteers. Every mask counts.

It’s a storm, and a long one. It’s a war. Maybe every generation needs a war to start to think more widely about community. I could wish we didn’t need it, but I am seeing some truly inspirational behavior among my neighbors and strangers.

This generation possibly more than any of the past may need to understand this and pass it on to their successors… the evolutionary fact that, that when there are this many of any one species populating the earth, pandemics are inevitable.

We cannot stand alone any longer, believing we can be independent and rugged posing against the sun, because there’s always someone else in sight… hopefully at least six feet away.




Filed under blog, experiences, gardening, health, medicine, science, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Love in a Time of Covid19

  1. You are doing kind things. I wish we didn’t have this, but we do. My husband and I were talking….there’s a sort of peace found in shelter-in-place. Stay safe.

  2. This virus is certainly a wake up call to everyone. We got home from Mexico Wed night and are self isolating. Our daughter and granddaughter are still in Mexico and I think they are safer there. In hind sight, I think the mistake was to not stop all travel instantly. In any case we must all do our best. Take care?

  3. Our daughter was supposed to defend her PhD thesis in early April but her committee is now looking to the fall. Now the dilemma is whether she ought to head for home, or if it is better for her to stay in Arizona. She’s been isolating for about a week already, in case she decides to come and we, do have a good set-up for her to isolate further if she drives back. But it’s a question– should she? Or is it better to stay– in which case I think she’ll find some volunteer work to do for the hospital.

  4. Hello Robin. Have people been taking the produce from your bin?

    Take care —

    Neil Scheinin

    • Yes they have. In fact it’s been hard to keep it full, though I heard one guy on his bike complaining that one orange was sour. That was a blood orange– they’re usually very tart and are best mixed with other fruit for juice! If he read my note on the bin, he would have known….

  5. Hi there, love your blog really make me thing! if you get a chance check out my blog its about looking at isolation from a different angle

    • maisarrasaurus, I just noticed I didn’t post a response to you about your blog. I did chack it out and liked very much what I readand your thoughtfulness. Thank you!

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