21 April 2020

so much

The night,
In which
the fear's all

Has also
And the

Mascha Kaléko


The dawn chorus, my early morning bird friends wake me. I like to think so. Indifferent as they are to mere humans. I lie there feeling like the first, the only person awake, listening, letting my mind take me to my first thoughts. There is so much I need, want, have to accept. So much. 

It feels strange. But also simple, acceptance. Almost a relief. 

Life is easy, I must be honest about this. Not having to go to work and still being able to work, without problems, from home, this is truly wonderful. There is no other way to describe it. And yet, being told that should I insist to be allowed back to my office on campus, I cannot do so without prior arrangement and that I can only attend meetings in person if all attending wear face masks - something I don't even want to consider asking for. That I need to accept. We are not talking about weeks here.

And the risks, accepting that I am vulnerable, that an infection could - not necessarily but yes, with a high likelihood - be severe and/or trigger a flare up of various autoimmune vasculitis scenarios. That I have to accept. Also, that I have to explain it again and again.

In other words, not only do I have to keep my distance and be vigilant, R has to do it too. Which involves friends going to the shops for us and I need to figure out how to accept these offers for what they are without feelings of being a nuisance.

In conversations I stress that I am not afraid. And I mean it. Or rather, I am so used to being afraid for my health, this is just an extension, another version of what it means to be chronically ill. I have years of experience when it comes to working out my life expectancy, when it comes to withdrawing from, giving up something that felt a part of me, important, life sustaining, because the risks are too high. But watching others having to learn this, that I find difficult to accept.








  1. That which was most private and innermost has to become known and if there is anything harder, I do not know what it is.

  2. So much to learn from and relate to in your post today. This post is like a detailed drawing, maybe even a mandala, showing an evolution of acceptance.

    Thank you for the introduction to Mascha Kaléko. I searched for more of her poetry and found some here, along with photos and the story of her life:


    As I continue my Spanish language studies with daily enthusiasm I remember your kind encouragement.

    La noche
    en cuál
    todo el miedo
    se pone

    También tiene
    La Luz De Las Estrellas
    y La

  3. a nuisance or a charity case. it was very hard for my sister to accept our offer of providing a house for her especially when her own children preferred to be ostriches concerning her situation. she does not accept help easily.

    there was a time when I was faced with a serious and life changing decision, whether or not I would stay with my husband or get a divorce. I went on a 10 day wilderness canoe camping trip with friends determined to have made a decision by the time we made it to take out. two days before the end I had a wild dream that included a greek chorus and when I woke I knew I had accepted out life together. that knowledge, that acceptance, was a weight off my shoulders, my entire body. I felt so much lighter.

    I have excellent health, my heart rhythm problem aside, and yet I have moments of fear of getting infected (was that cough last night covid or just a reaction to all the plant dust and debris from the fence, are these body aches covid or just the result of weeks of pulling on stubborn vines, was the sweat I woke up with in the middle of the night a fever from covid or because I was hot under the quilt) especially after I read anything about how horrible it is to have this virus.

    I didn't think life would be changed at first, I figured we humans would go right back to being us but this thing is not going to go away, not anytime soon and we here in the US are about to find out just how bad it can get, stupidly opening things too soon because the stingy republicans are still in charge. what?! give people money for not working? why then should they want to work. and in the next breath they expound that Americans want to work, want to get back to their jobs now but only the selfish want that. they want haircuts and manicures and massages and don't care if they infect others. even if life does go back to 'normal' we will be left with the knowledge that a portion of our fellow citizens were willing to sacrifice anyone to get that haircut.

  4. I love that poem.

    I'm glad that you are able to work from home, finally. It only took a pandemic for your bosses to understand. Is that a silver lining:)

    I think part of growing older is understand that our days our limited. I no longer look forward and see an endless amount of time. I could live for another thirty years but even that is only 30 more harvest moons which seems so few to me. It also means I don't want to waste one spring or one fall or one anything, and yet I still do. This pandemic reminds me daily that a long life is not guaranteed and still I dilly dally.

    I texted my middle daughter this morning. This angry nonsense needs to end. We both need to forgive each other. Thank you for reminding me.

  5. beautiful poem, illuminating the nature of our existence. Are restrictions being lifted where you live? They are in parts of the U.S. come May 1, but I'm a 'at risk' person with my type 1 diabetes and weird irregular heart beat, so I'll be pretty much sheltering in place until a vaccine is found or the number of cases is down significantly. I really worry for younger folks who believe they are immune and will jump back into activities that put them in harm's way.

  6. What a process chronic illness must be. It does remind me a little of growing old, but much more accelerated. I am moved by your last paragraph.

  7. Thank you for that wonderful poem, and for your meditation on acceptance. You helped me to understand that it is the work of this period for me, when I too, and so very lucky to have work I can do from home, and congenial company, and really everything I need, except to be able to put my arms around my first responder son. Acceptance. It is the work of life in a way, and today, you are my teacher.

  8. Dear Sabine-Thank you for this thoughtful post. Those of us who are delusional will or will not wake up. The idea that death is nowhere encoded in our DNA is simply incorrect. We all have an expiration date. Those of us who are vulnerable face our own mortality with more honesty because we have to. We are stubborn and selfish and willful and look where it gets us. As it is said: "Death is certain. The time of death is uncertain."

    Every time I see someone wearing a mask, I silently thank them. And when I see people unmasked and walking close together, I watch my thoughts go to being angry that they aren't protecting all of us. Walking between these views is tiring, frankly.

    What I hold close are those friends and neighbors I don't even know (!) offer to shop for me and offer to be there if I need something. Yes, it's hard to ask. But I have learned to.

    It's raining here on all the spring flowers and the vegetable garden. It feels like blessing.

    XX Beth