Troubled Waters

It feels like we are living in some strange and nightmarish dream filled with dangerous and troubled waters from which we just can’t escape. I try my best to stay positive and put one foot in front of the other every day, but in all honesty it is getting more and more difficult not to slide down the rabbit hole of depression. I want to believe that good will win in the end- I have to. Otherwise, I have no clue how to move forward.

Tender moments.

Home is my sanctuary, and I can’t begin to imagine what I would do during this pandemic without Dan and our animals, without the routine of caring for each other and our beloved Chez Gainey. I try to plan for a fall semester of returning to the classroom, and instead of the usual joy and excitement, I feel fear and dread about what could potentially happen with the virus. I miss making music with my friends and colleagues, but even the recent release of two long-awaited CDs now seems like reminders of another life that may not return for a very long time, if ever.

There is madness everywhere; the daily barrage of political insanity, as well as what I see when we venture out into the world. Some people are working hard to try to stem the flow of COVID while others act like nothing has changed. The stark differences are cognitively dissonant and incredibly frustrating. That, mixed with so much tension and anger wrought by racial injustice and my worries about Dan’s struggles with the after-effects of COVID…what was once a busy and happy life now feels like the foundation is crumbling all around me.

Twilight in the garden

I was so grateful to be able to go to the Nantahala with my best friend and to see my dear friend, Momma Carol, last week. Being in the beautiful Western North Carolina mountains, visiting Knottyhead Falls and feeling the peace of nature were all medicinal. However, I found myself falling into some sort of postpartum funk when I returned home. It just wasn’t enough time…but I don’t think it could ever be enough time. I felt guilty even thinking that way after the gift of the trip.

Knottyhead Falls

I truly don’t mean to sound all gloom and doom; I only intend to be honest about my feelings during these chaotic times, and it seems that I have to write it out or lose my mind with the enormity of my grief for what we have lost. I am grateful for so much; I am blessed with precious love and friendship, with the comfort of a safe and loving home. So many are facing devastating losses on a level that is difficult to even comprehend.

Marley’s view…

At home I can pretend that the world is normal, that everything is going to be okay in time. Going out into the world of masks and distancing and frantic sanitizing reminds me that things are anything but normal. I can only hope that we will start working together to stop the spread of this awful thief of our way of life once and for all. Until then, I will keep holding on to hope the best I can, looking for small moments of beauty and good. As my clarinet mentor would say, “Onward!”


9 thoughts on “Troubled Waters

  1. Beautifully written, and describes a lot of what I’m currently feeling too. I guess forward is the only thing to do, but I can’t help but feel like I’m marching with cinderblocks around my ankles….

  2. I feel exactly like this, Denise. It’s so difficult to come to terms with seeing people I thought were rational and intelligent refuse to believe this is real, refuse to wear a mask based on political rather than scientific evidence. This, as much as anything, breaks my heart. Seeing the true color of their souls eats away at me. Love you and am thankful I am in this with people like you and Dan. Stay safe sweet friends! ❤

    1. I will never understand it, Julie. It is heartbreakingly sad. I love you and am grateful for your sweet and caring heart. Please stay safe and well. ❤️

  3. I read an insightful article in The Atlantic this morning by Aronson and one of his colleagues about cognitive dissonance. We are all experiencing cognitive dissonance at this time (along with grief and stress), and that carries a great deal of discomfort and confusion. Within the dissonance exists a space and a pause, where we can rest, suspended. It’s there that we can find the resilience to make it through this. Wishing you love.

  4. You are not alone – we are all feeling the pressure to distance and stay well on one side and the tug for familiarity and the old normalcy. COVID has a firm grip on our nation and we must continue to isolate and take every precaution! I love the CDs and that you have your name in big letters! I’m sure your mother would have been so proud!

  5. The longing for what was once our “normal” is very tangible to me. I have coping mechanisms, but yet still find myself in shorter temper. This is a sure sign of stress for me. Blessings to you, Dan, and your fur babies. We will get through this and come out the other side.

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