Every morning when I wake in the dark, I think, I’m not sick, a revelation that begins the day. Although I’m not headed out of the house, for any number of days, I’m up especially early these days, thinking of Salinger’s Zooey telling Franny not to fritter away the best part of the day, buddy.

It’s all jumbled up here, even more than the past year. I am so grateful my daughter isn’t sick, that she’s counting down her quarantine days not with pleasure, but with her trademark resolution, her will do, but I’m plotting my summer plans….

For me, it’s wait and watch, a negative test followed by another test, results in 36-72 hours. Over us hovers the thought: which way will this go?

I set up work on the kitchen table, then move to the back porch in the afternoon. My daughter disappears on a long walk through the woods. At the tail end of winter, we haven’t pulled any outdoor furniture from the barn yet, so I sweep the boards and lean against what remains of the railing broken by falling ice.

In the late afternoon, I’m painting the interior windows of my upstairs office when I see the town librarian walking up my road with two books she’s leaving for me. I holler down, Thank you! We talk for a moment through my screen, and then she’s on her way again.

Like the rest of the world, I keep listening to the trial in Minnesota. My daughter appears and leans in the doorway, watching me. I tell her I’m going to savor this quarantine with her, that we’ll be talking about it someday, years hence, when she has twins and a baby and I show up to change diapers.

That’s wonderful, she tells me, and you have paint on your elbow.

Thank you so much, my readers, for writing in. It means the world to me.

Kitchen office, complete with (working) cat and borrowed tortilla press.

12 thoughts on “Quarantining

  1. I love that you took yourself out of the moment by imagining you and your daughter years ahead…even changing diapers. This is so helpful, even to me…a reminder. Enjoy your time together and the quiet. Thinking of you.

  2. Good morning, I wanted to post this comment, but could not “log in” so here it is: Wishing you and your daughter good health and the necessary negative tests to move out of quarantine. And then on to getting vaccinated! You continue to capture this most unusual time with poignant observations and optimism. I love getting your posts in my in-box. Thank you.



  3. My 3 year old granddaughter was just tested yesterday. Not because of exposure, but she had a cold and cannot go back to daycare without a negative test. These are such difficult times. I know the waiting is a slow moving clock. Continue to look toward the positive times that lie ahead. I am holding positive and healing thoughts for both you and your daughter.

    • My best wishes for your granddaughter, too. My daughter’s symptoms were so mild that I might have overlooked them — if, for example, I had been out that evening I might never have known. Of course, I never go these days, and now I’m not out at all except to walk around the house and breathe. But the crocuses are out, and the virus, thus far, has mainly spared the kids, thank goodness.

      Always nice to hear from you!

  4. Brett, just click your heels three times and chant “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home….” Really, though, sorry to hear of having to quarantine. Fingers crossed you don’t ever contract the illness, and glad to hear your daughter didn’t get very sick. Maybe someone in your pod will take some photos of spring flowers in snow? It’s snowing here in South Burlington and I assume you’re also having snow. 💐🌺🌸

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