Living in a pandemic is a unique experience for us all, I am sure. And for us, with multiple high risk folks in the house, we are in long-term lockdown, and are still not going into buildings that are not home. This means we have spent the last 8 months living in our rural bubble. It has been interesting, hard, easy, wonderful, panic-inducing, and just something that I know we will look back on some day and tell stories of that year (or years) when the world stopped.
We have always homeschooled (unschooled) and we already worked from home. We had a garden, we had chickens, and we have been a one car family focused on spending these years before our sons are adults as a tight family that enjoys spending time together and focusing on the important things. We already put work away at 5 and eat dinner and spend time together every night. We already take walks together in the evenings, and have conversations as the sun goes down. We already look forward to weekends so we can play board games, spend more time together, and bake together in the kitchen while we listen to music.
We already make sure to take time for the good things. We spend time reading books and talking about them, programming a new chicken coop door, walking the garden at night as the twinkly lights turn on and the cicadas and frogs sing. We already have games we play together and laugh loudly, sing goofily, and lose track of time as we talk sitting in the kitchen at night.
We already spend time planning what to do next summer in the garden, save seeds, harvest food, can tomatoes, make pickles, dry and blend our own teas, and stock up a whole community apothecary to be prepared if we need to be for the unforeseen. We already have a seed library and seed bank in our home, we have an orchard, we wild forage, and we have our favorite stands of nettles, curly dock, cleavers, chickweed, wild grapes, and elderberry.
We already live our lives like our home is our vacation. We already have a home that we all love, that makes us feel good, and that we enjoy spending time in. We already have routines in our life, and rituals that make each day something to mark and remember. We already celebrate life fully where we are, rooted deeply, and committed to being under-scheduled and focusing on our relationships with each other. We already don't take the privilege we have to live this life for granted.
We already listen in wonder to the frogs singing each night, look up to the moon and the stars and breathe in the fresh air. We already look at the clouds and the sky, and enjoy the turkey, squirrel, bird, fox, coyote, deer, racoon, opossum, groundhog, and others that pass through this beautiful place. We already watch the amazing sunsets and sit at the window as the sun sets and the bats swoop through the sky and around the house finding their dinner.
While none of this is easy - which is for another post - and we have times where we long for connection that isn't zoom or discord, or we wish things might be different, we are also so grateful that we have this time together, we have this land and this place, and we have this time with each other. One day when I am old and gray (ok, I'm already old and gray), and my children are adults and we are spread across the world, we will remember this time and how lucky we were to have this time at the cusp of adulthood. That we could pause this moment and find happiness, comfort, and connection even in one single place. That this world and this life as it is is enough, and that we can enjoy what we have where we are.
As summer winds to a close and we look to fall and winter under our lockdown in our little world, we are looking forward to the change of seasons, autumn leaves, first snow, early darkness, a cozy fireplace, cold crisp air, and the moonlight reflecting off the snow. And, each month is one month closer to the end of this when we can resume our place in the outside world, even closer as a family, and, most importantly, still healthy and alive and together.
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled boys in south central Wisconsin.