We recently hatched duck eggs on Miller Farm. When Beekeeper Brian set the eggs, the world was a much different place. He was going to work and I was teaching music at school. Now we are sheltering in place and having lots of video meetings.
The ducks provide a welcome distraction.
At first there were five and they all looked like Cayuga ducklings which would have come from Lucy and Ricky, our two grown ducks.
They all snuggled with the stuffed cat.
It reminded me of the children’s book Are You My Mother?
Then two more hatched two days later. And just as Brian was ready to clean out the incubator, one more hatched.
We call him Leo the Late Bloomer from another children’s book. He’s gray and yellow and came from eggs we got from a friend.
I put water in for them to drink but, being ducks, they play in it.
The one with the yellow beak also has yellow feet which are a stark contrast to the black legs. They are really fun to watch.
Anytime I get discouraged or worried, I go watch the ducklings. It’s duck therapy and it works really well.
Today is Happiness Day. It’s a bit of a strange topic when we have a pandemic going on and death tolls rising. Still, we can all use a little happiness with all this craziness bombarding us.
Where can we find happiness?
First, and foremost, turn off the news. Quit watching every single newscast all day long. Stay informed but take a break.
I think we’ve all gotten the message. This is not getting better. If you listen to the experts, it’s going to be worse.
Truth is we do not know. So why, listen to all the speculation that only fuels a pervasive dread of what’s coming next.
And, because you’re stuck inside try some of these ideas to find a little happy…
Now that you’re living twenty-four/seven with all your stuff, bet you’re finding there’s hardly room for you. Clean out that sock drawer. Get rid of what you don’t need, haven’t used. You’ll feel lighter for it. Happier.
When I first began to teach music in the classroom, I would lose my voice once a year. Laryngitis is hard for any teacher, but for a music teacher it is particularly challenging. It takes much longer to regain the ability to sing than to talk.
I would spend weeks teaching listening lessons and doing rhythm activities. Before it was all over, I would find myself sad and out of sorts. I realized this was the result of not singing regularly.
This feeling of sadness is being felt on a much grander scale by musicians around the country as they are prohibited from meeting in ensembles to make music. The Toronto Symphony found a way around these restrictions.
As I listened to this wonderful music, I was overcome by joy and amazement. I could just imagine each performer in their own home playing their part without being able to hear the others except in their minds. I have no idea if this is actually how it happened but it really made me think.
We can all do our part wherever we are and trust that God will eventually put it all together to make something beautiful.
Hopefully, one day, we will see the finished product and all the sadness and loneliness will have been worth it.
In the meantime, we can enjoy the creativity of musicians who can’t help but make music together. Here’s another example:
Crisis, chaos, and change are the three components of every major event.
Remember the existential edginess of 9/11? It’s returned.
During that crisis, we hunkered down at home with loved ones close, glued to our televisions, as the world around us changed. Our hearts trembled in fear that day. We survived.
Crisis, along with its bedfellows of chaos and change, happened again during the Colorado wildfires of 2013.
Maybe not everyone, but edginess and uncertainty ruled with mandatory evacuations for us. We piled two cars with our most precious belongings, two dogs, and ourselves. Our home was spared, but our world changed. We survived.
Crisis struck again in 2017 when Harvey dumped torrential waters and once again uncertainty, losses, and dramatic life-changes swirled around us.
Now a pandemic called COVID-19, coronavirus swirls worldwide crisis and chaos.
There’s nothing good about this crisis. Fears are rampant.
No one escapes the chaos of bare grocery store shelves or quarantines, voluntary and mandated. NO toilet paper, really?
As we grope our way along through the chaos, here are six suggestions (paraphrased by me) from Writer Unboxed blog contributor Sarah McCoy.
Buy Flowers. Splurge on a bouquet at the store or pick some wildflowers or plant some seeds.
Get Outdoors. Self-isolation doesn’t mean we are locked in jail. Isolate yourself with a walk in nature. Drive to a nature trail, if necessary, where there are crowds.
A Song. Listen or sing your own. Songs are the medicine of angels, and it will resonate in you for hours… days… however long this quarantine takes.
Cook. To create a nutritious, virus-free dish for yourself and your loved ones is a simple recipe for joy.
Write A letter. To another person or yourself in a journal. According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus can only live on paper for 24 hours. Letters sent through USPS take 2-3 days. It’s safe.
Read. For a writer like me, that’s a given. It’s my way to escape even when there’s no chaos.
Choose one or all of Ms. McCoy’s suggestions. Doing so requires nothing and will offer great relief from “the toxic fear plaguing us as tenaciously as this microbial foe.”
Take heart in knowing we got through 9/11, wildfires, and floods and so many other crises. We can rest in the assurance this darkness will give way to the light too.
In the grand scheme of things this is not even a blimp on the radar, only I recently had the word supper changed to dinner by a copy editor. Even with everything else going on in the world, that troubled me.
The editor said dinner is used more often. I responded in the South we eat supper and go to dinner.
That didn’t help.
Not to be defeated, I did my favorite thing—research—and discovered dinner doesn’t refer to a specific time of day but refers to the main meal. The word supper comes from the Old French word “souper,” meaning “evening meal.”
In her NPR interview, food historian Helen Zoe Veit says, “[In the 18th and early 19th centuries,] Americans regularly ate a light supper as their evening meal because they were eating dinner—the biggest meal of the day—around noon.”
(Who knew there was such a thing as a food historian?)
Anyway, Veit further explains the reason for eating the biggest meal at noontime was so farmers would have more strength and energy to get through the rest of their workday. When Americans began working away from their homes and farms and couldn’t easily return home to cook and eat in the middle of the day, large noon meals disappeared too. Having the main meal of the day in the evening meant they could spend more time enjoying their food and spending time with their family.
The word supper is more commonly used in Southern and Midwestern states. Mostly likely because those regions are agricultural.
Nowadays I think most folks eat meals at all hours, not necessarily by the clock or large meals. You can have brunch between breakfast and lunch and lupper between lunch and bedtime.
Heads up here… you’re not going to find that word lupper in the dictionary. It’s a word I made up to explain to my children why lunch was skipped and there’d be no supper.
I believe I have two of the best jobs in the world.
First, I get paid to stand in front of groups of children and lead them in silly songs. At least that is part of my job. As a music teacher I have the privilege of introducing them to all my favorite games and action songs. Of course the older kids are not quite so enthralled but all in all it is a great job.
Then I come home and have piano students file into my home all afternoon each with their own special talents and their parents. They come in as many shapes and sizes as the students. Parents usually ask at the first lesson if it is necessary for them to sit in on the lesson. It honestly does not matter to me as long as they are not a distraction.
I did have one mom that took to thumping her son on the head when he made mistakes. I politely asked her to wait in the car. Others have come in and read or worked quietly on their laptops. A father who was a school bus driver would regularly fall asleep during his daughter’s lesson. I was quite impressed.
One of the most creative uses of this time is by a mom who entertains herself with Eeyore – the donkey from Winnie the Pooh. My mom found a stuffed Eeyore at a garage sale years ago and it has made its way to Miller Farm via the “obligatory bag.” It talks if you push its nose, squeeze its belly or pull its tail.
This, however, would be quite distracting so this mom makes sure to keep Eeyore very quiet. Instead she arranges his hair. She then takes pictures and labels them. I was so amused that I asked her to send them to me.
Now that my secret is out, everyone is going to want to be a music teacher/piano teacher! Oh, well, I’m sure there are enough students and parents to go around.