Making Music in the Grand Pause

The COVID-19 Chapter, “At Home”: About a Month In

How it’s going out there? You all hanging in there? I mean, what choice do we have, right? I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little, no, a LOT tired of this state of things. Of COURSE my heart goes out to each and every person affected by this monster virus, and I’m sending love and healing to survivors, everywhere, worldwide.

Here at home, where we are healthy and safe, the days wear on, and we all feel the drag.

There’s an element used in musical and poetic form I’ve been pondering lately, and that is the idea of the Grand Pause. There are small breaths we take in lyrical phrases in poetry or song, like a comma, fermata, or a caesura. Then there are longer holds, that create a more significant break, before moving on. (Strangely enough, the fermata in music is also sometimes referred to as a *corona* – weird.)

The inserted pause is like a good cliff hanger – we wait with bated breath for the resolution. We are held, suspenseful, longing for the music to resume, to pick up where it left off, and tie the story all up for us, hopefully with a neat and tidy bow.

I can’t shake this feeling that we are hanging in mid air, in just such a moment. All of this came upon us so suddenly. We follow the storyline, we hear the updates, and we do what we’re told. But none of know what’s next. None of us know how the next stanza will look, and we surely don’t know if that nice, neat bow is going to wrap it all up. My suspicion is, it won’t. It will not go nearly that smoothly, or satisfactorily. A dismal thought for another day.

So what do we do in this moment, peering over the cliff’s edge, waiting for those next steps?

I put together a little poll, to see how people are whiling away the hours, or how they’ve been moved to create, do, or be during this world pandemic. I got some pretty good answers. These are taken verbatim, completely unchanged, in the order they were received. Thanks, freinds!

It took a world pandemic for me to…
  • Get my sh*t together. 
  • Be intentional with my time. Realize that time is not unlimited. From there – block calendaring. Forgiving myself for not doing EVERYthing. Considering the value of something before I spend time on it. Focus, in a nutshell.
  • Learn to be present to my family.
  • Get back to my sewing machine. And I realize I have a lot to relearn (can’t remember a damn thing about how to use it!).
  • Take a walk every single day. (Sometimes twice a day!)
  • Get my bicycle out. I forgot how awesome it is to ride a bike!!
  • Finally watch The Wire (which is amazing)
  • Write a will. Morbid, but true.
  • Read a book (we’re all so proud of JAB, we weren’t sure he know how)
  • Teach my kids how to play catch.
  • Eat home cooked meals every day.
  • Write poems about a worldwide pandemic.
  • Miss my teammates from work.
  • Unpack the moving boxes.
  • Realize how loud my husband is when he types! (All joking aside, I am enjoying a glimpse into what he does when he is working.)
  • Relax.
  • Get out my sewing machine.
  • Grocery shop for a week+ at a time vs. popping in 5 times a week.
  • Well, book club zoom meetings. That counts, right?
  • Play Rummikub all together every night!
  • Convince my husband to get a puppy!
  • Learn Microsoft Teams.
  • Start and stick with a knitting project. I just cast on for the 7th time.
  • Run…For “fun” -not due to being chased.
  • Ride my “in house” stationary bike…I like the gym! But find I need more drive to make myself exercise.
  • Not let any food go to waste. A few months ago I wondered why I didn’t just put the cilantro in the trash as I exited the store after purchasing it (cause that’s where it always ended up). Now I’m using every scrap, regrowing scallions, making croutons out of the dry bread, crisping up limp celery in ice water, grating cheese all the way down to the rind.
  • Use my home office instead of the kitchen table.
  • Move in to my home and unpack little trinkets on my lunch break… and watch the new peonies sprout up.

And here’s mine:

It took a World Pandemic for me to send out a video of me singing and playing the harp.

I tried this out for the first time at a concert I put together with some dear friends last December, which seemed easier. But here’s just little old me, in my basement, singin’ and playin’. It makes me sweat a little. But who cares. Everyone’s looking for a little relief these days – enjoy!

So go away, Coronavirus. No one wants you around anymore. We want to go back to work, return to school, share meals and drinks with friends and family, uncover our faces, heal our dry and red hands, and never ever use Zoom again. Please. Thank you.

Stay well – sing a song!

Love, Julia

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