Week #11 of Life in Annapolis, Maryland USA During the Coronavirus Covid 19 Pandemic
At 5:00 a.m. on Monday morning I was awakened by a powerful rat a tat rat tat tat tat pecking against what sounded like metal- our copper gutters? My husband Peter thought it was a bird was stuck in the chimney. I was thinking it was a woodpecker deciding to drill a hole in our house at such an unreasonable hour. I’d just fallen into a deep sleep after a restless night of weird dreams imagining I was a young college student standing in what used to be both the gymnasium and auditorium of my high school making a presentation before a panel of judges, pleading my case. What was I pleading for? A better world?
This has been a difficult week for me because I cannot stop listening to the news and the news is all very sad. Over one hundred thousand people have died in the United States from the Novel Coronavirus/Covid-19. Old people, young people and a disproportionate number of black and brown skinned people—far too many African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic people who are an integral part of America. America the brave and the strong? It is hard to stay brave and strong with so many people to bury and so much destruction. Another black man has died because of what I call “depraved indifference”—Three white policemen not hearing the cries of anguish, the calls for help that George Floyd made as another white officer, now charged with murder, leaned into the back of his neck cutting off his supply of oxygen. Businesses already suffering from the extended shut-down due to the Pandemic now looted and burned in several cities across the United States. I cried watching one business owner standing in his ruined shop, after asking a looter to please leave, telling the television interviewer, “I still want to rebuild, because there are good people in my community and I’m willing to start again.”
Can we rebuild? Our vision of what we are rebuilding needs to change, an inclusive vision that brings us together instead of the greed and selfishness that tears us apart.
For a change of perspective, we started eating our breakfast outside on the side porch. The balcony above provides shade and I hear lots of bird twittering in the trees around me. Fortunately our neighbor has lots of nice trees–holly, magnolia, dogwood.
I also hear the bang of a hammer because a neighbor one block away is having their front steps replaced. I look down and see a large black ant investigating the edge of the green iron chair where I sit, back and forth he traverses the arm rest. Then the power tools start in because they need to cut more wood I guess, and the quiet mood of the morning is temporarily broken.
I have come to the conclusion that the reason that people stuck inside their houses and apartments keep changing things around, besides the understandable anxiety and boredom, is it’s a way of coping with the lack of variety in their routine. Always stuck in the same place, they’re seeking to change things up so maybe they start eating breakfast in bed, or dinner in the backyard or breakfast on the porch. Yes, we’ve been stuck in the same place too long and it goes beyond the temporary stay-at-home orders.
Last night, Friday May 29th, Annapolis restaurants were able to re-open to provide outside seating service and retail businesses under certain restrictions have now been able to open. So far things don’t look too different from last week, but the number of cars zooming down West Street and up Taylor Avenue has definitely increased. Businesses allowed to re-open included the neighborhood car wash, now with signs that advertise “touch free automatic” and “self-serve”.
Saturday morning we encountered a box turtle taking a walk, and relocated him to a safer place on a large green lawn. Bunnies, squirrels, and foxes are plentiful in my Annapolis city neighborhood. Unfortunately the algae blooms have created quite a stench at Old Women’s Cove and when we walk by there now with our dog Chloe, we walk quickly. Later in the day I enjoyed the feeling of warm sun on my back as I pulled errant clover, dandelions, and grass out of the flower beds.
For ball throwing fun with our dog, we walked over to the United States Naval Academy Stadium, which is currently deserted except for the walkers and runners using the trails. The large open green space where cars normally park for the big football games is wide open. No lacrosse games, no craft fairs, no big gatherings of any kind. I have lived in Annapolis such a long time that I remember back when the circus would come and set up tents in this same space and I’d bring my daughter Alex to watch the elephants come help set up the tall posts for the tents. That was 25 years ago and many circuses have closed or have stopped using animals in their acts. There’s been a move towards the cessation of inhumane treatment of wild animals. How much have we accomplished in the past 25 years towards how we treat our fellow human beings? Will the Pandemic enable us to reflect on our past actions and see more clearly?
When I start feeling overwhelmed I tell myself to just take one step in the right direction. Eventually I’ll get to where I’m trying to go, or at least I’ll be closer to my goal. Do something nice, one thing for someone else. Bit by bit our world can change.