Just After

It is Friday according to my calendar.
Plans and appointments on that calendar, erased. 

I have scraps of paper everywhere and notes attached to other notes and none of it really matters. It has been a thinking morning, not a producing one. I’ve let my thoughts travel to the.places they usually only go at night. I try to let fear and worry run hand in hand like it was some kind of game. Maybe the trick is to wear them out so I can sleep. 

Today, with new orders for “sheltering in place until May 4th”  I am aware that I am missing things. There are places right now that are about to explode with color in Eastern Washington: Mountain Lady’s Slipper on the the trail at Puffer Butte and Paintbrush along the rolling hills of Pine Ridge. This was the spring I was hoping to wander the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge and the Bluebird trail. Wildlife will likely thrive without our interference and the flowers will bloom whether we are there to bear witness or not. Still, I miss them. 

Snow is piling up at Paradise/Mount Rainier. No one is there to plow and so she sleeps under a blanket of freshly fallen snow. It is untouched and beautiful in the evening hours. I check in every day. These webcam shots are from just before sunset last night, and then, this morning. The light is getting in through the cracks and it makes me incredibly hopeful. 

Meanwhile, my inner forecast is calling for storms. 

I’m antsy. This spring had a full scheme of adventures planned based on things like tide schedules and peak bloom seasons. My first spring hiking season without the burden of a job. Pearl and I had a plan. I paid her off a few weeks ago. The title came today. She’s all mine. And in the garage she sits …

” I know what I have given you.   I do not know what you have received. “
 –  Antonio Porchia

I’ve been writing notes, letters and cards. I’ve reached out as far as my little tentacles will reach. I know what motivates my giving, but I don’t always know how it is received. It’s okay. It won’t change what I offer and so the most important part of the exchange will always be intact, but I’ll probably always wonder ..

In my idle time this morning I realized that, for me, the significant things in life aren’t the experiences themselves, but rather, those moments, those feelings that wash over me “just after”. 

Just after ..


a good book

a great meal

good sex

a hot bath

a good night of sleep

reading a letter

a deep breath ..

And how it feels to be in the woods early in the morning and hear the bird calls. It isn’t the call that captivates me. It is the split second after … just after. When I’m processing; replaying the sounds in my head and listening for the call back ..

It’s when I am crunching through snow or on a dusty trail and I stop. And I listen. And all I can hear is the sound of my own heartbeat. It’s what comes … just after. 

My mind ventured there this morning too. What will it be like “just after” this threat has passed ? What will WE all be like after ? How will it change how we communicate, how we comfort, how we love one another ?  Will it change anything at all ? Or will it change everything ? 

This pandemic can bring out the best in us. We can dig our fingers into the dirt, we can flourish with paint and pen and we can step into roles that are unfamiliar. We can learn new things (Zoom! ) and we can stretch our own versions of ourselves to include a gathering of inspired, like-minded others. We can reach out and touch in a virtual way that might make it easier later, (when the world settles into it’s new way of being together) to come together in real life again. 

No sense tossing and turning over the two most elusive things: yesterday and tomorrow. We can’t go back, only forward. The truth is, every step brings us to now. 

How are you faring in this lockdown ? What are your wonderings ? How is this changing you ? Is it for the better ? I have more cards going out today. I think that makes about 40 now. I’m leaving treats for my letter carrier too. It’s what I can do to keep you all close. And I will keep reaching out until we walk one foot in front of the other through this surreal time to a new day.  

2 Comments on “Just After

  1. Thank you Bonnie, for sharing your thoughts and photos. It is so comforting….

    • Thank you, my friend. So glad to see you here, Jill. I hope you two are hunkered down somewhere beautiful until we can be OF the world again. Stay healthy, be well, thanks for writing 🧡

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