In the garden, caution is sometimes the only strategy to keep your rose bushes healthy.
The best example involves pruning. You don’t prune one rose bush and then move on to the next without sanitizing your shears. If you do, a virus that has covertly infected one bush is almost sure to spread through the entire garden. Certain viruses like witches broom (officially known as rose rosette) are so insidious that removing diseased bushes is considered the only recourse.
Knowing this, when health and government authorities told us all to repeatedly wash our hands, diligently sanitize surfaces, and stay home as much as possible to interrupt the spread of the corona virus, I wasn’t inclined to argue. Self-quarantine of individuals who’ve contracted the disease, but aren’t sick enough to be hospitalized, also made sense.
But what does this mean once you’re actually surrounded by the same four walls and (if you’re lucky to have housemates) the same faces day after day?
Despite what the calendar says, spring has not arrived in the high desert of Northern Nevada so, even on mild days, there isn’t a great deal of work to do in the garden. Saturday night dinner with the kids and grandkids is not an option. Television loses its luster when there is almost a constant stream of bad news and you’ve watched all the new episodes of programs you like.
So here’s what we’re doing in our household.
Every day we try to limit our daily intake of the bad news. Instead, my husband and I check in with family and friends via telephone calls, texts, email, and Facebook. Not only does that keep things in perspective, it helps us feel less isolated from the people we love. We can’t physically go through this crisis together, but we can go through it together emotionally.
Every day we spend time working on projects that normally we only wish we had time to do. For me, that means I’m suddenly making rapid progress on the historical novel I started two years ago. Rewrites I thought would take months are taking days or weeks instead. And what a joy it is that someone who regularly critiques my work is now my partner in isolation and can make suggestions in real time.
Most importantly, every day I try to think of something positive I can do for someone else. Admittedly, there’s not a lot. The last time we went to the grocery store I made a point of cheerfully greeting everyone I saw (from a socially safe distance, of course). In addition, I resisted the urge to buy more than we really needed so other shoppers could buy what they needed, too. A few days ago, I checked on our older-than-us neighbors and made sure they had our telephone number if they should need help. Yesterday, I left a “thank you” sign on the door for the UPS driver who continues to make essential deliveries while the world goes crazy around him.
Perhaps as we get deeper into the pandemic, it will become more challenging to tolerate isolation, be productive, and stay positive. But I’m personally going to try with all my heart and soul to persist. I invite you to join me in that mission. Collectively, let’s do everything we can to interrupt the spread of the corona virus and, at the same time, make sure patience, kindness, and love spread unchecked all over the world.