Quarantine Day 19
Laying in the hot tub and looking up through the steam I hope for no shooting stars. No getting pulled that far up and out of myself.
Many nights we gaze, attentive looking for the not uncommon satellite. Planes are easy to spot every 10 minutes or more often, but it is much quieter this Spring with the virus. Will summer mean the typical slow down of life? Or instead a somewhat welcome relative quickening? An easing of restrictions and more semblances of life returning to normal? The stars are brighter in the same way downtown Denver is clearer when I drive down 285. If we drive less we instantly get cleaner air.
In the humid quiet I can run out of things to say, even to my wife. Exposed and intimate beneath the vast sky it is still possible, especially for two introverts, even in these claustrophobic nights, to be alone. Lazy limbs occasionally drifting through the tub are the only sound.
Lonesomeness sometimes pulls me to God. In these strange unnumbered days I understand anew that it is really just ourselves and the Immense Presence traversing some unknowable number of days. Sudden strong introspection clouds around me like a warm fog. Should I be better adjusted than this?
Then it doesn’t happen. Many nights with spa jets off one of us will speak out: “there!” and a brilliant streak breaks our reverie. We are pulled suddenly up into the awesome cosmos to hover high above ourselves. The silent tub remains far below; isolated pool on deck on mountainside of a huge range running north south through a middle state in a sprawling country of turmoil.
The sudden size differential is staggering, the insignificance can be crushing. It is immense work to cling to the notion “I am bigger than world.” It is a framework I construct to garner any motivation and belief in myself as agent. It is a framework I seem to need to accomplish anything much these days.
The shocking truth of “I am smaller than world” can be a humbling and helpful reminder; even grounding in its ego-demoting correction. But I can’t take such a demotion these days. There is a possible future where familiar things matter once again – but how much did they really, even back then? I need a tether.
Glad for the dead and still distant sky I focus on one star then the next, each unimaginably farther away. There could never be a big enough theology to make such psychic barometric shifts from tub to solar system totally manageable. And that on my best adjusted night; I haven’t had one of those for some time.
This quarantine and virus are terrible reminders of just how tentative is our culture’s grasp on civilization. Such daily frights knock my equilibrium. Feeling lifeless arms float at my side, I am just barely grateful in my small vulnerability. I weigh so little only my head rests on the white fiberglass. I am almost nothing.
“You about ready?” Julie asks and I mutter “yup.” Attention back down where it belongs I stand to pull the waterlogged lid folded across from us.
All I need do now is climb into jammies, brush teeth, and, safely retrieved from buoyancy, fall asleep.