Friends and Neighbors

What kind of pie is this?
It’s not a pie! It’s banana bread scones, made in the new scone pan. It wasn’t the best recipe to inaugurate this pan, because the instructions to cut and bake on an open tray allowed for crisping all around the edges of each scone. But I didn’t figure that out til the pan was filled and the scones baked. They were delicious anyway: a cross between a drier, crunchier scone and a cake-like banana bread. I was grateful to share them with friends-and-neighbors at vespers over the holiday weekend.
And what a spread they put on! A cornucopia of snack foods, cheeses, crackers, fruits, meats, chips, and individual bowls of salsa for each of us. They respected my precautions though they are over the idea of Covid themselves, just done with it as are so many people I know, despite the fact that the virus is far from done with the human species.

I’m coming to terms with the fact that my Covid release is lagging far behind that of my friends and neighbors. Most people I know have gone back to their business as usual lives, sometimes wearing masks for certain activities, but largely letting go of pandemic precautions. Even those who have been infected with it once, or those who are at high risk because of immune deficiencies or other conditions, have extended their activities out in the world far beyond my comfort zone. As a result, many people I know who avoided infection during the first two years have gotten sick in the past few months. Most of them have been vaccinated and boosted, and have gotten so-called mild cases, though quite a few of them were sick for weeks even so, and many have lingering long-covid effects from low-energy to brain fog and skeletomuscular aches and pains.

This creates some complicated emotions in me, and I’m slowly sorting those out. I’m grateful that I enjoy solitude, and have many years of practice choosing it over extroverted engagements, so being alone comes naturally to me. And all the causes and conditions in my life preceding the pandemic led to me being well set up to survive and indulge my penchant for solitude, in this beautiful homestead sanctuary, with plenty of community support. I’m grateful for all of this.

And I find myself bristling or cringing–judging or twinging with envy–when I hear the extent to which the few people I trust are safe enough for me to be around are in fact regularly exposing themselves to potential infection from Covid or even just colds or flu. I’m grateful that (except for that possible food poisoning a couple weeks ago) I have not been sick since the pandemic began. That tells me that masking when I must go out, and as much solitude as I’m able, are healthy for me. I can accept the choices of my friends and neighbors, and choose my own exposure to them accordingly. I’m grateful for this equanimity and wisdom, but it’s getting harder to hold onto as the ‘business as usual’ paradigm becomes a widespread new normal, and I start to question and judge my self-protective instincts. Complicated emotions.

I’m grateful that the network of interdependent co-arising that over decades and perhaps lifetimes has woven the safety net I live in right now holds me within a comfortable illusion of security. I’m grateful, too, that I know nothing lasts forever. This allows me to make the most of the precious, beautiful moments of each day, without fretting about what comes next. I’m a different person than I was five or 25 years ago; I was always seeking this sense of peace and contentment, and mindfulness practice has allowed it to arise and stabilize in me to a great extent, no matter the external circumstances.

Grateful for a gorgeous summer day and a walk to the rim with Wren’s brand new very best friend Phoebe and her person. She loved having a friend her own size to dance with. She was so excited to show her distant cousin around and ran multiple laps of zoomies through the woods on the way to the canyon. There, her little friend walked boldly to the edge, showing Wren how it’s done, so she stepped out of her comfort zone a little bit too, venturing close to the edge and even starting down below before I stopped her.

5 thoughts on “Friends and Neighbors

  1. Go Wren! I love her doing zoomies in the woods and having a little pal to relate to. She’s such a nice size.
    Those scones looked pretty good.

    • I wish she felt like doing zoomies on her own, but rarely does she. Mostly she does them when there’s another small dog around, like she did with Rocky, and with Phoebe. And boy can she zoom! Scones were good. Banana biscotti is cooling on the rack right now.

      Rita Clagett Certified Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher Mirador Eco-Retreat https://dukkaqueen.wixsite.com/mirador-eco-retreat

      “My experience is what I agree to attend to.” ~ William James

      >

  2. We, too, are among the few of our friends who still wear masks when we go out. And we have also avoided getting Covid so far (knock on wood, fingers crossed). We have traveled and we have eaten in restaurants occasionally when we felt it was relatively safe, willing to take a small risk now and then. Wearing a mask is a minor inconvenience, and eating outdoors is a pleasure (except when it is 100+ degrees as it has been in Texas for weeks). We have also heard of too many long Covid cases to want to throw caution to the wind. I applaud your efforts to keep yourself safe, Rita; you don’t seem to have too bad a time of it 😉, especially with sweet Wren to keep you company. Happy Fourth!

    • Thanks, Sandra. I’m glad you haven’t gotten it. Just reading about the new BA5 variant this morning and its capacity to evade immunity. Also received other supportive texts and emails from readers with similar caution levels. Whew! It’s great to have company 😂

      Rita Clagett Certified Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher Mirador Eco-Retreat https://dukkaqueen.wixsite.com/mirador-eco-retreat

      “My experience is what I agree to attend to.” ~ William James

      >

Comments are closed.