3.16.2020

IT HAS ALREADY BEEN TIME // elspeth


Hello friends. How are you doing out there?

I hope you are doing well. I hope you remain in good health and good spirits, and that you have love and supplies to see you through. I hope you have no reason to be lost in grief. It's strange, this thing—the way it is sweeping the world, the ways it is spreading not just germs but also new rules and new normals and new fears. 

I wanted to come here today, though, not to talk about fear. I wanted to notice out loud the other things I see happening: people slowing down, listening to each other, thinking about each other, reaching out, offering care. I am hearing the same thing from friends near and far: how are you? what do you need? how can we support each other?

I am seeing this from our kids, too, from small bodies who I sometimes worry do not know their good fortune, cannot see beyond their own needs. On Saturday these same girls decided to write a bundle of notes to our neighbors. Many people in our town are over 65, and they've absorbed enough for this to make them worried. They rode their bikes around the neighborhood to deliver one note to every house on our street. We have lived here for more than ten years, I realized as we went, but we rarely see most of our neighbors. We do not gather regularly. I'm sure we could all offer a hundred reasons—some people are seasonal, the summers are busy, we all are busy. But they are excuses, really. I think if we're honest the real reason has more to do with the values our culture teaches: we don't want to impose, we don't want to intrude, we respect each other's space, it's good to be busy.


The kids' notes were covered in drawings. Inside I helped them ask two simple questions: Are you here? Do you want to connect to support each other? 

The notes we've gotten back make me think that deep down we've all been looking for another kind of excuse. An excuse to connect, to check in, to come closer, to not be so separate. We've been looking for it for a long time, I think. It makes me wonder: is this what it takes?

"It has already been time," healer Dori Midnight writes in her beautiful poem Wash Your Hands. "It is already time that we might want to fly on airplanes less and not go to work when we are sick. It is already time to slow down and feel how scared we are. We are already afraid, we are already living in the time of fires."

That, I thought when I read it. That is what I am feeling.

So far of course is it easy to feel this more than fear—we are lucky, our family is healthy. We are cooking from our pantry and our freezer—sourdough and soups and roasted chickens. We are doing the work we can. We are drinking tea we foraged last summer and building a tree fort and worrying and worrying and trying not to worry. We are thinking of ways to help. We are counting our blessings.


Sally made the card in the photo above last night, after much frustration. When she did, she walked over beaming to show me. "Read inside, Mama," she said. I read it out loud: "I learn how with many failures and tries."

You are right, I told her. We all learn how with many failures and tries. It has already been time to slow down, it has already been time to sing in the streets. We have been trying and failing to re-connect, but we learn how with many failures and tries. We will do our best to stay connected, we will do our best to stay healthy. We will do our best to see the good. We will keep trying.

17 comments :

Laurie said...

Beautiful; you and your little ones. And so much how I am feeling.

Maria said...

So beautiful. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Thank you Elspeth. I needed that. You always know what to say when. You're a blessing. Love from Brewster MA.

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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.