March 26, 2021
For the past pandemic year 2020-2021, I have had an old classmate from high school write emails to me every day, and I respond. She writes to me late at night because she’s a night owl. I write to her in the morning because I function better then and for most of my life have spent time writing every morning. These are not little notes but real letters like we used to get in the mail when we received actual handwritten letters. They take time and thought to write, and although I’m sure she is mostly checking on me to see if I’m still alive, because she worries that I am living alone and am isolated, I love these letters. How can I be alone when someone writes to me and worries about me and we share six decades of memories? This sister-friend and her husband live only one mile from my house, so if I ever do have a problem they can be here in five minutes. This almost-past winter was particularly cold for a long time, and we’ve had more than six feet of snow, most of it still in huge piles around the yard and only just now in late March they are beginning to melt. They’ve only had to come to help two times since last March, and we’ve only visited three or four times in person over that whole year, but I know she’s there in the back of my mind.
Since I bought my motor home in 2012 I’ve spent winters on the road and summers at home, six months each. Of course my “away” time started like most people with a week or two off, which gradually grew to a month, two months, and finally longer after I really retired. The motor home and my 30-year old Acura stay in an Arizona storage yard, waiting for me to migrate south every fall and take them to Mexico. At home in Alaska I have a Subaru and a 4-wheel drive truck, parked at my almost 40-year old house. It’s a lot of vehicles for one old woman, especially considering there’s a storage trailer and an old Airstream at home too. Lots of tires to replace. Engines to repair, things to worry about. Somehow instead of worrying more as I age, I seem to worry a bit less. Things happen, and we just plug along and fix them one at a time. I don’t worry about things going wrong, because by now I know things that WILL go wrong.
I never get bored, even in isolation, because my mind never really shuts down. But I’ve changed, am determined to sleep more hours at night, which for me means more hours spent in bed, sometimes reading, or reading the news, or scanning through articles online. For me it works and for many months most nights I finally have eight hours of sleep and then get up. I have many projects – sewing and beading and writing and cooking – and try to avoid housekeepinging like vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms. But no matter what I make my bed every morning and get down the stairs from my bedroom, usually don’t go climbing back the stairs up until night.