Little thoughts at night on how to get through the pandemic

Little thoughts at night on how to get through the pandemic
Photograph by Margaret H. Laing.

I’ve written in my diary,┬ábut sleep isn’t coming. Going back to the diary and just writing about today isn’t happening, and I’m as interested in the mechanics and constitutionality of the second impeachment trial as who’s succeeding or failing in plans for it.

So until I decided to come over to my computer, I lay in the dark thinking of what else I could write about. This close (about an hour) to writing about my day, I started thinking of the tiny things that distinguished today: being able to get some carrot cake at the corner store, finding the stairs at the front door shoveled and thawed, and trying to decide between my next library book (of five I’ve ordered) and the biography I’m reading from Dad’s collection.

I realized slowly that the little things are actually big helps in the present limits of the pandemic, as relaxed as they’re getting. On separate days recently:

— I found some more ponytail holders in a pack I thought I’d finished, so I have strong ear loops for my homemade masks again.

— I met a neighbor walking his dog, and all I had to say was “Hello!” before the little dog ran forward on her extendable leash to say hello back. I still don’t think she’s as starved for attention as she wants me to think.

— I got a call from the library and found out that the “items” they held for me were my whole five-item list.

— I went out to the suburbs by bus, L train and cab, and I picked up my cello’s bow from the repair shop where I’ve been taking it for years. Talking to the people there about the great work they do, and how welcome they make me feel, is a happy memory.

So if you’re frustrated because big things aren’t happening, take a few moments to re-focus. Look for the smaller things that are happening, the things that are differentiating your days.

The gift of noticing and appreciating small things may be something positive we can gain from these days.

Meanwhile, I think I’ve written enough. Good night, readers.


Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.


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    That was lovely, Margaret, thank you. I'm reminded of a Guy Clark folk song called Stuff that Works in which you should reach for stuff thats real, stuff you feel, the kind of stuff you reach for when you fall.
    I hope you keep seeing the little things that are big, and keep writing of the stuff that works for you.

  • In reply to Larry Adams:

    Thank you, Larry. I appreciate knowing about the song. The diary usually works, and the resulting writing is just for me. Somehow, I knew during the night that what would work was this post.

  • Beautifully written, And in so authentic a voice. BTW, which biography from your father's library are you going to read?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thank you. Authentic is easy in the middle of the night. I'm reading "Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom 1940-1945," by James MacGregor Burns. I just got into 1942 the day before yesterday. Reading 1941, in which Burns wrote that FDR favored an "Atlantic First" strategy, left me feeling like I was reading a detective story, thinking "Franklin! LOOK OVER THERE!"

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