Blog Author Maureen Goldman

When Time Slows

Time moves at the same rate no matter what we do, but now it feels like a tortoise crossing the road. Time is moving the way it does during the second half of an exercise class or the last ten minutes of math (or statistics or physics.) It’s almost like 4:00pm with a baby. You’re just not sure you can make it to 6:00.

After two months of quarantine, it seems that mind and body are now in stasis with the glacial pace of life. I’m tired and unmotivated with a brain soaked in sanitizer. If you asked me anything the least bit complicated, I’d probably squint and say, “Huh?”. Neighbors are nameless, the ones I’ve lived beside for twenty-four years. Showering is an incredible bother.

Today I started learning arcane bits of grammar and making lists of conjunctive adverbs. There doesn’t seem like anything else to do on a Monday afternoon. For weeks, I’ve witnessed the birth of weed communities in our garden that I snatch right out of the dirt. To a day, I know how quickly black spot mauls roses. I excavated all kinds of junk from the basement, dragged boxes from the attic and turbo cleaned our entire house several times, but I’m not busy at all. Just filling time.

The thing that makes this Covid time so hard is that we have oceans of alone time to think. I spend it obsessing about worst case scenarios for my family and the world, staring down my least favorite home chores and doing them in a dark mood. They don’t take long enough to fill the day.

Now is a good, even essential, time to consider beauty in the natural world. We have space for the details. A fresh magnolia blossom is on my desk. The substantial petals are sculpted milk, catching light from a dozen angles. The stamen looks like expert needlework with tight stitches at the bottom and loops around the top. The scent is a heady lemon with a smoky undertone. It’s mesmerizing and magnificent.

Considering the pandemic, Covid-19, the quarantine and a flat line for truth, faith seems precious as a baby now. Any opportunity for renewal is time well spent. With a little more faith, maybe quarantine days will have some padding and ease. I just have to believe.