Before and After: An Ode to Quarantine

Dear Quarantine- our nation has many different thoughts about you, as do I. You presented different types of challenges to different people and we will grapple with those facts for years. In the midst of your historical debut, you somehow managed to weave goodness into neighborhoods like mine. We had it better than most, but there were still lessons to learn. Here is our story and here’s to you…

*

BEFORE you came, my neighborhood was loud, Type-A and fast.

We waved hello and waved goodbye as people shuttled past.

Kids stayed quiet, off to school, then sports, Chinese and dance;

Something happened every night, do not neglect the chance

To fill the schedule to the brim with busy plans and games;

Weekdays, weekends, doesn’t matter, every day’s the same.

“Nanny she will pick you up, your mom and I are working.

Not sure when we’ll have the time for dinner, we are searching…

Life is busy, that’s the truth, but someday we’ll slow down!”

The hamster wheel spins faster still, around, around around.

*

BUT THEN…

Life went silent, all of us were slammed flat on our backs.

Staring wide-eyed at the world, we start to see our cracks.

Tunnels underground are where we lived within your rules,

There we worked and there we played and there we did the school.

Forced together, burrowed in, we held each other tight,

Mom and dad, they worked from home and teens were here each night.

*

Months they passed and days they flew then slowly we emerged,

Blinding light punctured our eyes and thoughts began to surge.

All the things that held us fast and tight within their grips

Let us go and pushed us back and took away our ships.

No more passing in the night, but stuck home altogether,

We found joy in simple things, like puzzles and the weather.

*

Families they went on their walks and played games in the street,

All at once six blocks of homes had found the time to breathe.

My neighborhood of fast and loud became a time of slow;

Kids found jump ropes, bicycles and other things to tow.

It’s like somehow we all returned to childhood in the 80s,

When kids played outside, families talked and girls made chains of daisies.

*

We also found that we had time to care for all our neighbors,

Checking-in and buying food and reaching-out with favors.

And we realized other friends were also very near!

A simple Zoom-call conversation gave us time to hear

And wonder why we didn’t contact all these friends before?

(Because our schedule always called for more and more and more.)

*

So thank you, Quarantine, for stopping time for just a spell.

Thanks for showing me what matters- love and time spent well.

But now we’re called to move on through, this year has more to say;

Important issues face us, maybe the biggest of our day.

But don’t forget what we just did, what we had time to feel!

Don’t forget what happened when we all jumped off the wheel!

*

I know that…

Sometimes life is full of choices, but sometimes it is not.

Sometimes fate hands us a card and that’s our given lot.

(But) if you have a choice to make ’bout where to go from here

Think about this Spring and what you’ve learned so far this year.

Do you long for busy? Or do you long for slow?

Two roads diverge in the woods- down which one will you go?

If we do not ponder it, the wheel will just spin faster.

And though some might prefer BEFORE.

I’ve decided… I choose the AFTER.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s