Dealing With Cabin Fever During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Week #5 Covid-19 in Annapolis, Maryland USA

As the weather grows warmer, the sidewalks and roads become busier. I strategize when are the quiet times and the quieter places. Despite the shutdown, plenty of construction projects in my neighborhood are proceeding along with landscaping and gardening projects.

The azaleas in their brilliant colors of pink, purple, and red are particularly striking.

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I’d like some plants. I don’t want to buy them at the store. I look online and most everything is sold out. One thing left is an assortment of summer day lily bulbs to be planted in spring. I look forward to their arrival, hoping they will bloom as vibrantly as shown in the photographs.

In France, the restoration of the Notre Dame cathedral has been put on hold because of the coronavirus. In Annapolis, Maryland the demolition and rebuild of a waterfront house began this week. Is this an essential project?

Construction work provides many jobs and the economy is almost at a standstill. How to decide what part of society can keep functioning. These are weighty questions.

At one house on my walk I see two black vultures solemnly perched on the back porch They look ominous. Their faces look like masks and their presence encapsulates all my fears: someone I love getting sick, struggling with the illness myself, financial worries, … I take a few pictures and keep walking.

In Maryland, our governor has asked everyone to wear face coverings when inside a store. Shopping for groceries wearing mask, gloves, reading glasses and a baseball hat I see a number of people with no face protection at all. Others wear a cloth mask around their throat. What good does that do? I move quickly, trying to avoid everyone, but in particular those who wear no face covering.

I’m not certain if people don’t care, or just don’t understand how contagious the coronavirus is.  So many people without jobs, why not create some new ones: information officers to create videos, announcements, messaging, posters in multiple languages to educate everyone how to protect themselves from spreading the virus. Massachusetts has hired new workers to track past contacts of those who test positive. What about creating more jobs for workers to manufacture masks and gowns? Why just hand out checks? Let’s get creative.

Many of arts groups have posted online performances and invited artists to share their work on new platforms. An depth look and  visit with a particular facet of an exhibit ( currently closed to the public) is being shared online. For example, The Mitchell Gallery at St. John’s College-  posted a video related to the The Thaw Collection exhibit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/mitchellgallery/posts/ .  Up in New England, The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) has joined other museums around the nation by inviting artists to be inspired by a creative prompt to share their work with the larger community: https://bit.ly/3ct4MQe

School continues to be in session, although still online and teachers are being challenged to come up with new ways to keep their students engaged. Parents grapple with how to keep their smaller children busy with no childcare, while attempting to work from home. Teachers who have never taught online before are creating new lesson plans and teaching strategies. They are asking themselves, how can you interact with a large class of children online? For face to face interaction,  it is easier when groups are small—between six and ten. Perhaps more jobs could be created for online teaching assistants.

With warmer weather arriving in Maryland, I predict I will start seeing exercise classes commence out-of-doors, all participants placed six feet apart. Bicyclists, joggers, skateboarders—they are all out and about. They move quickly, taking over the streets.  Cabin fever? We want to stay safe but many of us grow restless. I am hoping that more tests for the coronavirus will become available in the quantity actually needed, along with enough safety gear for ALL our healthcare workers.  THANK YOU healthcare workers and everyone working on the frontlines. Right now, we are still in a holding pattern and social distancing is our only protection. I focus on the present, to make this day count, to accomplish as much as I can in the moment.

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Published by Nadja Maril

Nadja Maril is a communications professional who has over 10 years experience as a magazine editor. A writer and journalist, Maril is the author of several books including: "American Lighting 1840-1940", "Antique Lamp Buyer's Guide", "Me, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat", and "Runaway, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat". Her short stories and essays have been published in several small online journals including Lunch Ticket, Change Seven, Scarlet Leaf Review and Storynews. She has an MFA in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Former Editor-in-Chief of What's Up ? Publishing, former Editor of Chesapeake Taste Magazine a regional lifestyle magazine based in Annapolis, and former Lighting Editor of Victorian Homes Magazine, Maril has written hundreds of newspaper and magazines articles on a variety of subjects..

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