I wrote this entire blog post in my sleep this morning. Which is to say, I dreamed that I had to make all these pies – savory and sweet – for a wedding, but that I’d put the task off – probably because pie making intimidates me – all those special things you have to do get the crust right. To make matters worse, there was this big sack of pie filling leaning against the kitchen table that was on the verge of going bad, but in the dream, someone told me there was still time to make the pies, so I took a big breath and I baked. This was the blog post I was going to write, me telling you about the courage it took to make some pie.
I woke up at 5am this morning to transcribe the story, and as I entered the kitchen, I realized there was no wedding, there was no pie making, there wasn’t even exactly a blog – there was just this dream that I thought was real. I honestly thought the whole thing had happened. I stood there for a minute lost in the gauzy fabric that separates real life from dream life, and it took me a moment to sort it out, me standing there in my kitchen at 5am in the gray morning light, my pajama bottoms sweeping the floor because they’d lost their elastic years ago. No pie to be seen.
It’s been a year like that; the life before, the life now – how what seemed like a dream, an impossible way to live, has become so real. The masks, how we line up to enter a store, sometimes getting our temperature checked at the door, the way we reach out toward our screens to touch the people we love.
As unbelievable as it’s been, one of the things I haven’t minded so much is how long we’ve been in it, and that it hasn’t been, as my friend Lori said on the phone the other day, “a one time event that we had to get over, like 9/11, something we would handle and get past.” The pandemic hasn’t gone away, it hasn’t allowed us to be glib and get over it, to come up with pithy lessons of what we’ve learned. It hasn’t been easy, and because of that it’s been an opportunity to keep us uncomfortable for longer than we thought we had tolerance for, and to season us into something deeper. At least it has for me, though it’s taken me months to sort it out. Even now I struggle to find the words, and feel hesitant to put anything into print because these ideas aren’t fully baked – like those pies I was so uncertain about.
For months it was a kind of depression for me, even though my own life hadn’t completely toppled. If anything, I got to work with a lot more people because so many people wanted to write. I was gobsmacked by the gravity of the virus. The insidiousness of it. The only thing I could point to was a naiveté on my part, a long held belief that someone or something – like the government or Bill Gates or Big Daddy or the scientists were going to save us.
One night in March I ran out into the street to see the full moon and I actually spoke aloud, “save us,” I pleaded quietly. But as soon as the words left my mouth I shook my head and thought, “the moon can’t save us.” I felt stupid, I wished my dad were alive.
I recognize the privilege that came with that thinking – that we could fix this, that there was a plan, or enough money or enough smart people, or that we had a government that cared, a president who…
I felt flattened, silenced. I got quiet. I focused on working and walking. At night, my daughter, who had moved home, would turn to me and we’d quietly say a few things from the day that we appreciated.
Many mornings I wake up with my hands on my belly, on my heart – finding an anchor, helping me settle into the unknown and adjust to a world where there are no answers, and where we are left to make decisions for ourselves; Should we see our mothers? Could we get on that plane? Is this mask safe enough? The way we still have to weed through the tangle of gut instinct, fear and hope.
I keep fantasizing about the day we’ll all walk out of our houses without masks. I see it in slow motion, the way we’ll greet our neighbors on the street, the way we’ll move toward the hug, even to the neighbor we don’t know well, just because we can.
Until then, I’ll accept more stumbling out of bed and into the gray morning light, remembering, then forgetting, certain there was something I was supposed to do – a wedding, a pie – something I wasn’t sure how to move toward, but would.
Listen to Laurie read the blog here …
Friends, if you’d like to create a writing practice this year, I want to welcome you into the Wild Writing Family, a community of like-minded folk who write from three short Wild Writing videos a week. It’s a personal practice that invites you to sit down and write for 15 minutes a day and lay down some authentic writing. The Wild Writing Family does have a Facebook group where people may share work, as well as a live meeting on Zoom every two weeks where we write together. It’s been a beautiful way to move through the pandemic together.
I’d love for you to join us.
Hi Laurie. I participated in your/the Wild Writing in March when I’d taken 6 weeks off to help my mum get “through it” as we tried to sort out what that meant. As an ER nurse, stepping away from “it” gave me a sense of guilt for abandoning my colleagues, which I sorted through amongst other weights and pulleys those few weeks away.
I’m ready to rejoin for another stretch.
Looking forward to the plunge!
The gauzy fabric that separates real life from dream life…pajama bottoms sweeping the floor…
Te veo. Te amo.
During this time the fabric between dream and waking that you so beautifully write about in a blog that actually gives me a means of articulation, a vessel to hold feelings, has grown thinner.. less disconnection between dreaming and waking – the territory that has been there the whole time and suddenly breathes . thank you so much.
the moon can’t save us, but maybe many moons can…time and in time and going through the months and seasons of it all will transform us–I’m choosing for the better. And I keep thinking “Nature is a trustworthy guide.” This writing family you’ve created is a web across the globe that connects us and helps me feel safe and brave. thank you so much. keep dreaming up blog pies!!!
Pajama bottoms sweeping the floor.
I wished my dad were alive (right after asking the moon to save us). ThNk you for your writing and for sharing your practice with us. It has been the single most important thing that shifted this time from one of loss and hardship to one of growth, discovery, and even giggles, eyerolls, and delight for me.
Oh, sister, I feel you! I rolled out gingerbread cookies for my elderly neighbors at 2 am while the moon watched me through the pine trees. I made the dough on Christmas Eve but just couldn’t roll and cut the dough. I also didn’t have the emotional energy to make my annual Christmas pies because it conjures up my mother and nana, but your story may inspire me to do so. Beautiful blessings. I don’t feel so alone now.
This has been a year of exponential growth shaped by mostly unacknowledged micro choices. This morning the choice of cocooning for another hour in bed with my phone or get up. I watched myself make a choice. Sounds like nothing. How many choices will I notice today? Without you I probably wouldn’t have noticed this choice point. Bad writing leads to noticing pivot points.
“To season us into something deeper…..” I love that. Now is the time to approach those deeper waters, of the accelerating climate crisis, of how we treat domestic and wild animals – and each other, of how much more aware of our daily chopices we need to do to help Mother Earth and each other. What a beautiful post this is. I love your writing, Laurie. I especially loved the pajama bottoms sweeping the floor. So real.
I love the idea of you out in the night, asking the moon to save us, especially as I am reading this on the day of a full moon. Maybe Wild Writing is like all of us doing that for ourselves and each other over and over again as we write our way through the pandemic. Yea to the dreamers.
What a gift to find you in my inbox this morning, and to find you bearing this beautiful gift–your writing, your capturing of this time is even better than pie!
Oh Laurie, thank you for your spur to write…I have somany feelings about 2021, and for the most part I see it as a learning period of time, not just for the individual us but the world. I hear so many young people saying how they never had time to just be and now they are and I am learning there is so much more to life than out side…Outside of our selves…I feel so grateful and blessed and my “dreams” are to see no more homelessness, hungry children, fear and hate…I am told I am a “polly thinker”…yes I am and that is one thing I feel we are all learning that is if we all pool together with our thoughts, wishful thinking, one day it will be..This pandemic time is a gift if we let it be. Thank you for being there Laurie..oxoxo
You described so well when the dream world and the “real” world swirl together as one. Each day blends into the next , so awakening in the morning is not a new day, but an extension of the day before in perpetuity. It’s certainly has been a time of deep reflection and writing practice has been a saving grace. Thank you.
BravaBella. You are one of the bravest people I know. I am blessed to be part of your life. I know those dreams. Wish I could make a pie with you. The secret for the most delicious apple pie is not to peel the apples and use Trader Joe’s pie crust in the freezer section. I ate the last one over three days by myself.
I love you,
Oh and slice the apples thin so they practically melt.
after a number of gibberish attempts…what I really want to say: Your writing is so effective I still sense the warmth of me being an apricot pie with a cherry tart glaze… cooling on your kitchen table.