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Space in the Time of Covid

Judy Slater, Dave Talaga, carolyn r zaleon

Judy Slater

Sleep (Not) in the Time of Covid

I am awake


I turn to the open window

To a fresh silent breeze

To gentle soft rain

To the moon-graced black sky

A snow goose honks in contentment

I am still awake

Empty no more

Covid Void

The continuum cracks

Time and space undone

The ordinary vanishes

Nothing follows nothing

Ah, moment, how amplified

Ah, movement, how stilled

What was, no longer is

Inconsolable Isolation


Ok, we can do this

It’s only three weeks

Extended isolation?

Ok, we can do it again

It’s only three weeks more

More isolation?

NOT ok, we’re not achieving it

It’s only endless

Scientists say space is endless

But we are not

The Space Co-Void

They say Nature abhors vacuums

What will she do to fill this one?

Space-d Apart in the Time of Covid

I am alone

You are all somewhere else

How, then, is it you are with me

You come to mind

Your smile remembered

Your energy felt

Your love comforting

I am not alone

Dave Talaga

Life with Covid, October 2020

I was in Bay City with family celebrating my mother's 88th birthday when suddenly the skies opened up. Buckets of rain deluged everything below. Though I was sitting on a couch socializing, a dreaded red flag rose in my mind. My mini-van's windows sometimes operate on their own, courtesy of a dysfunctional key fob. I ran to look out the window and, sure enough, the windows in front were fully down, rain pouring in.

Racing outside my parents home, I hurriedly started the car and put the windows up once again, but not before I was soaked to the skin. My dad loaned me a spare sweatshirt and trousers while he tossed my wet garb into the dryer. Very thankful. [editor’s note: my father has since passed away]

These minivan windows occasionally have been operating on their own for years. It's probably my fault since I'm too cheap to spend $200 on a new key fob. But my seven-year-old grandson Luke has a different explanation:

“Your car is haunted because you own so many scary movies.”

True, I do own a lot of scary movies. And this Halloween has given me a chance to watch them and a few new ones too. In fact, Halloween in the time of Covid hasn't been that bad. You can still go to the fruit farms for your apples, masked up and socially distanced. And with a new surge in cases locally, there's more time for the leisurely drive around the county to see the pretty fall colors and enjoy the ghoulish yard decorations. I even had time to create a particularly scary graveyard myself.

We don't spend a lot of time shopping in order to avoid the crowds. And dining out is becoming a rarity since we can't sit outdoors now with the cooling temperatures. But it does give my wife Wendy a chance to test her baking skills with pumpkins, when she can find canned pumpkin which is not that easy. So we've had pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin donuts and pumpkin tartlets. She did nix my suggestion of pumpkin ravioli . . . without comment.

Every year for the past seven years we've taken one or more of my grandsons to the preschool pumpkin hunt sponsored by the local recreation center. They made a few changes this year that I thought actually improved the experience. Instead of sitting on the floor of an overly warm gym listening to a local librarian read a spooky story, we did a story-walk into the woods, posted signs telling the tale of The Plumply Dumply Pumpkin. The kids wore masks, as did the adults, but nobody seemed to mind. After finding our pumpkins in the woods, instead of sharing decorations and snacks as we had in years past, we were handed a packet of decorations and a bag of snacks, one for each kid. We decorated pumpkins outside with one family to a table.

No overcrowding, no hoarding snacks or supplies and not a Corona-virus in sight. Okay, we were lucky to have sunny and warm fall weather but still it was a memorable time.

Though our grandson did his own pumpkin decorating, I was able to indulge my inner artist (I'm not, by the way) in another activity--coloring rocks to hide around town for a local painted rock hunt for families, something else to entertain folks who might be suffering the effects of Covid fatigue.

Then on another night, my two sons and I separately tested our Halloween trivia knowledge in an on-line trivia contest. Though I held first place most of the night, my younger son who lives in St Louis, nipped me right before the contest officially ended. He was very proud of that. Too proud, in fact.

Perhaps this pandemic has given us more time this fall to enjoy close family as well as the sights, smells and tastes of a Michigan fall. And when we're not outside, we can turn on the Halloween music channel on TV while catching up on our reading. For me, that means a magazine I bought called “The World's Most Mysterious Places.” I've been to at least a half dozen.

Meanwhile, I can't help but see the irony in the song playing on my music channel:

“(Don't) Fear the Reaper.”

carolyn r zaleon

the space that covid made...

...or took away...

in the beginning, space slowly plain sight....and took time with space, your space, the space for each other...leaving a void....full of wishes and memories...uncertainties and angst over the most mundane pieces of life

but then space unfamiliar space...from my fortunate vantage point, it is, in a way, now vast and freeing...and somehow eerily living in a turtle’s shell...or bundled under a big heavy quilt on a chilly dark night...

though the process isn’t equitable or gentle, maybe it’s ok for a new way of seeing space...and a new time to go with it....

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