I Want To Hear: Life during COVID

I see more when I’m alone.

The hooded mergansers on the pond, with their black and white grace.

The old woman’s hair dye, an unusual grey/blue color. Does she do it herself? Does she like the color or is it a mistake?

A middle-aged man’s beer belly, tired bomber jacket, and sensuous eyes and mouth. He must have once been a looker.

The spiked high heeled shoes with the red soles. Who teaches women to walk in stilts? My friends and I are stiletto illiterates.

The vivid green pine needles on young hemlocks. I can’t pass one without taking off my gloves and running the needles through my fingers.

Deep blues, greens, yellows, and berry reds in the woods. I want to design fabrics with these colors. “Use them as your color palette,” the famous fashion stylist advises me three days before she unexpectedly dies.

The moon outside my big bedroom windows, setting over the pond at different places on different months.

Fresh animal tracks on the sandy path, not big enough for a deer but too big for a raccoon. Maybe the coyotes?

Dead oak leaves, daffodil bulbs pushing up too soon, broken tree limbs suspended in trees.

My face, the deepening wrinkles around my mouth, the sunspots, the stray white hairs in my eyebrows, the laugh lines, my still blue eyes, the yellowing of the whites of my eyes.

A mother coming out of a doctor’s office carrying a bundled-up infant and grabbing a three-year-old by the arm and then slapping him hard on the head. The light turns green and I drive on, worrying about the family I wish I hadn’t seen.

The same streets on my daily three-mile walking loop, noticing who leaves their trash barrels by the side of the house, who puts them in the garage. Looking at shades pulled down over windows, plants peeking out of shade-free windows, Christmas wreaths turning sad and brown.

My chunky hiking boots with the shoelaces that keep coming untied. I bend down to tie them and see the winter grass is mostly yellows and browns but there’s also a faint, resilient shade of green I hadn’t noticed before.

I see beauty in the colors of house shutters, winter hats, children’s parkas and the rocks in the ceramic teal bowl.

I see myself in black, color drained from my thinning face, and decide to give all my boring black clothes away.

I see two big red and green leaves opening in the new plant in the bathroom. Yes, it can thrive in low light and with little water.

I see the bare guestroom windows that need curtains and remember that no one can visit, the pandemic is still raging.

I see people posting photos with friends at restaurants and I sigh with both judgement and envy. It has been 10 months and one week since I’ve been to a restaurant. We are healthy and starved for fun.

Yes, quiet and being alone helps me see so much. But I’d like to spend more time hearing, which I do better with people.

The din of restaurant conversations.

The jukebox at the bar.

Bare feet pounding on the studio dance floor, the walls vibrating with the music.

Pulling chairs close together on the deck. “Of course, we can squeeze in four more.”

Applause and a high-pitched whistle from somewhere in the back after telling a new story.

Happy greetings as people walk in the front door for dinner, taking off their coats, handing over wine and other offerings that will make us loud.

The hush of the theater at the end of Act I.

The excited chatter among strangers in the long line for the next Film Festival movie.

The dishwasher running again because the house is filled with company.

I have seen enough these many months.

I want to hear.

Most happy in the wilder-ness of people, ideas and nature. Joyfully rebellious when rested.