Linda Rand with her next Pandemic Diaries installment “Waxing Gibbous,” about being in tune with nature during these pandemic times.
I remember a storm coming. My two-year-old was napping and I was nearby, perched on a velvet loveseat at my open bedroom window, a soft gush of air poured through over my neck and torso, lifted my bangs. The sky grew prematurely dark. I could see its pewter shadow climbing over the unruly blades of my shaggy lawn, patches of clover growing deeper in color. The feathery branches of the Persian Silk tree swayed, the petals and leathery leaves of roses and pendulous fuchsia rode the galvanizing current, the pine boughs creaked. Lightning’s hot veins, a crack, boom, thud of thunder, and the first fat drops fell.
At once, from the tufts of clover dotting the lawn, glowing butterflies emerged. I gasped as a hidden world revealed itself, fluttering shapes of all sizes the color of moonlight and shadows, ascending towards the bushes and trees that framed the lawn. I was glad that they had their shelter because I hadn’t mowed in a while, cool places of respite during a time when the sun beat too intensely. At the right moment, they were rested, fortified, could transition. My vague guilt at neglecting the lawn was unfounded.
The moon has been growing full as I’ve tended my hidden world. Like when I started sequestering March 10th, before Portland officially shut down, it was a subconscious shift. I didn’t realize my life was on a new path when I started declining events saying, “Maybe next time.” Things just felt different. I had a curious self-reproach like, What’s wrong with me? Why am I dragging? But I didn’t force myself. And then, when the pandemic was official in Portland and the schools were shut down, I realized I was already sequestering.
I didn’t realize my life was on a new path when I started declining events saying, “Maybe next time.” Things just felt different.
A little over a month ago, I was looking at gas masks online to meet the escalating demands of protesting downtown, to what felt like, overnight, an irresistible urge for nature and quiet. Unless I am near trees, I can’t concentrate. My art commissions seem indecipherable. Writing, reading, and watching anything on a screen for more than twenty seconds seems impossible. But if I am in nature? My mind uncrumples. I am near a maple tree now because it’s the only way I can write this.
It feels like there’s a storm coming. Some have already been swept into it. COVID numbers have been rising (though the peak numbers have improved here from a month ago) and in Multnomah County a person without pre-existing health conditions has died who was only in their 20’s. People in this age group are the fastest-growing infected.
Out of town hate organizations are trying to foment violence while baiting or posing as BLM, and this is sanctioned by the white supremacist PPB, many who do not even live here. Regardless of who perpetrates violence, it seems like spin will stick it on the left. It’s so old hat it could be out of a fascist playbook. The fearful public would rather believe that the liberals are lawless rather than their own police. In two months, there will be an election. Will we be able to ascend towards a more humane civilization during this transition?
As I clear blackberries and pull weeds with my toddler, I look up at the sky and am startled by the beauty of the rising moon. When it waxes gibbous, it is growing larger, gathering towards being full. It rises during the day, visible in its state of undress, its state of becoming. I am a Cancerian, have always found comfort in what can be interpreted as a cold, indifferent rock, removed from our watery blue sphere. But it exerts its pull on us, the water on our planet and in our bodies, and it is transparent in its constant yet consistent change, different perspectives, cyclical nature. I move in spirals, my cells cycle, like a snake swallowing its own tail, expanding and shedding old skins and thereby being able to encompass more. As time passes, the space inside of me grows and grows until it will be able to hold everything.