I awaken to the ruckus of a Magpie squawking outside our bedroom window. Weak dawn light seeps through the blinds.
Beside me, my husband sleeps. His rhythmic breathing a hushed whisper barely discernible beneath the Magpie’s cacophony. I watch his chest move up and down with each breath. His breathing is measured, easy this morning. I push the first ‘what if’ of the day out of my mind. The alternatives to his easy breathing are too scary to contemplate.
I rollover. Check the time on my phone where it sits on my night table. 5:30 am. Is it too early to get up?
I lay in place, sheltering under the blankets, breathing. Thoughts of the day ahead infiltrate the quiet in a swoosh of choppy waves frothing at the edges of my ease of mind. They are filled with distress-riddled words. Pandemic. Covid. Self-isolation. Social distance. Shelter-in-place.
The last vestiges of sleep are ruthlessly washed out of my mind with the tide of emotions stirred up by my thoughts. I get up.
Restless, I walk into the kitchen, turn on the lights above the island to brighten the tepid morning light. I press the on button for the cappuccino maker. It gurgles its familiar greeting.
Beaumont the Sheepadoodle lifts his head from where he sleeps on the chaise by my desk. He raises his back haunches, puts his front paws on the floor, stretches and lowers his back end off the chaise to join his front paws on the floor. He paddles over to where I stand on the far side of the kitchen island. I scratch behind his ears, he leans his warm body into my leg. We stand like that for a few moments. Breathing into the quiet. The morning. The noises and words that disturbed my sleep slip away with his warm, familiar comfort against my body. I say nothing about lying on the chaise where he’s not supposed to be.
I take him out for his morning walk. Long coat covering my pajamas. The Magpie is gone. The sound of distant traffic ripples through the air in concert with the river flowing past. The streets are empty.
Inside again, Beau wanders off to sleep away the morning on the bed, curled up in the curve of my husband’s legs. I close the bedroom door. Shut in. They won’t arise for a few more hours.
I walk back into the kitchen. Make my latte. Think about cleaning the oven. It’s a self-cleaning oven. Doesn’t take much to get the job done. The job feels too much for me today. I let the thought pass.
I wander through the room. I pick up some papers from one spot and move them to another. I fluff a pillow on the sofa. Fold the blanket I used last night to keep me warm while I lost myself in some forgettable movie on Netflix. I carefully place the blanket at the end of the sofa. Just so. Order amidst chaos.
My head keeps running through the litany of things I should be adding to my To Do list. I need to write them down. I decide its too much effort. I’ll think about the To Do’s later.
I check in with my feelings. Restless. Uneasy. Weary. And my old friend, fear, is there, lurking in the back corner of my mind, seeking disruptive entry.
And I haven’t even checked the news yet. I haven’t read the statistics.
And already I’m weary.
I am weary of the mounting losses. Weary of the constant reminders to wash my hands. Keep my distance. Stay home.
I am weary.
I take a breath.
Weary or not, here I come.
I turn on some music. Not my normal gentle morning sounds of piano and cello.
This is music to stir my soul. Raise my heartbeat. Get me moving. Chase the worries away.
Andra Day. Rise Up.
Aretha Franklin. Respect.
Eurythmics. Sweet Dreams.
Survivor. Eye of the Tiger.
Gnarls Barkley. Crazy.
Gloria Gaynor. I Will Survive.
Journey. Don’t Stop Believin’
Lee Ann Womack. I Hope You Dance.
The voices rise. I rise up to greet them. I start to move. My body. My arms. My legs. My feet. I start to move. Back and forth. Side to side. I find the rhythm beneath the words. I let my body have its way to the beat.
And I am dancing.
Dancing in the morning light. Dancing to greet the day. Dancing to raise me up.
I am dancing away my fear. My anxiety. My weariness.
I am dancing.
I hope you dance. Too.
Thank you Brian Webb for your ‘Shelter-in-Place Playlist’ and for your inspiration. I’ve only included a few of your songs here — but the whole list is amazing! Thank you for your inspiration which inspired me to ‘Dance Away the Blues‘ this morning.