What a whirlwind of events we have all been through in the last couple of months. Only in the movies or in our wildest dreams could we have imagined the events that have unfolded around us and throughout the ENTIRE WORLD. Not just here, not just there, but everywhere. It is truly hard to wrap our heads around. Sadly, as we struggle to comprehend the severity of the attack of the deadly COVID-19 virus people everywhere are struggling to adapt to their “new normal”. With this new normal we have new vocabulary, “Social-Distancing”, “Self-Quarantine”. Toilet paper is a premium commodity, along with hand-sanitizer, all forms of cleaning supplies and PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) for healthcare workers. With a lockdown in place and hundreds of thousands of small businesses closed we are turning into a nation of having to do things for ourselves.  Restaurants and bars are closed so we are all cooking. With hair and nail salons and  barber shops closed home haircuts are the norm. We have now been on lockdown long enough that hair color, nail polish and personal grooming supplies are flying off the shelves just as toilet paper was.

Most of us have been tracking the ever-changing events as they unfold daily and we sadly watch as the death tolls from this vicious killer rise. It is truly unbelievable. Major cities around the world now stand void of life except for a solitary soul out for food. Our governmental powers and medical experts have determined that by staying home and limiting our contact with others we are helping to limit of the spread of the virus to others.

Notifications at the world’s greatest museums and entertainment venues post notifications stating, “We will remain closed until further notice.” We are talking about The Louvre, The Prado, The Metropolitan Museum of Art,  The Metropolitan Opera House, Carnegie Hall, theaters on Broadway, the Smithsonian Museums in Washington. Officials have cancelled the 2020 Summer Olympics. The shutdown also includes everything from NBA games and Spring Training and summer league games to closing Disneyland, entertainment theme parks and Las Vegas Casinos all in an effort to control the spread of the virus.  

Schools and universities in almost every state are closed indefinitely, possibly until the end of summer, maybe longer. Parents are now teachers. People are encouraged to work from home if possible using video chat rooms and Zoom technology. Restaurants are encouraging patrons to do “take-out” only. Events can have no more than 5 people in attendance and only while exercising social distancing. Weddings, graduations, birthdays and funerals are not allowed. No more hugs and handshakes to meet your people. The “elbow-bump” was the new accepted greeting but that now breaks the “six-foot” rule between people.

So what are we to do in these troubling times  you might ask? We have all been asked to stay home, unless we are an “essential worker”. Trying to maintain a level of normalcy is the most important thing, even if your kids are home and you are now working from home. We have before us an opportunity for a “time out” from our normal lives and daily routines. Having enough time is our friend and creativity is before us. We now have TIME to read that book, watch that movie, write that letter, try that recipe, pick up that paintbrush, clean out the garage, and take the dog for a walk. SEIZE THE MOMENT! 

Personally I feel grateful for the opportunity to spend time at home on projects that need attention. For years I have been suffocating under my “to do” list and I am now working to create breathing space in my life. I organized my large recipe collection and my pantry.  I’ve been cleaning out closets, prepping my garden, sorting magazines, reading the stack of books that have accumulated by my bedside for months, making lots of bread and cooking A LOT.  I’ve also sat on my porch and done nothing. I’ve taken lots of naps. I FaceTime daily with my out-of-town grandchildren. We do ZOOM family pizza parties. 

In the midst of this I AM MAKING ART. I brought home art supplies from my studio and set up a small work table in front of the TV. I’ve done several small paintings and now I’m focused on my “COVID-19 ART Journal”. It is still loose pages, I will make covers and bind later. I have felt the need to document events and emotions because these are such unique times. My TRAVEL JOURNALS are works in progress so I continue to add to them. I’m watching a lot of free videos posted by artists I follow, learning new ideas and techniques. I’m sharing a lot of my Daily Art Journal pages from the past, those with a bit of humor or that have a meaningful message. Technology has kept us connected to other humans outside of our quarantined worlds. Many of the large art museums have provided virtual tours of special exhibits and collections because no one can visit. With subscription seasons cancelled, symphony and orchestra members are performing online concerts.

I do turn off the TV and try to breathe fresh air OFTEN in the day to avoid complete over-saturation of information. It is often times hard to maintain a positive attitude in the wake of the overwhelming number of sick and dying people. In the midst of all of this we have been given a gift, TO STAY AT HOME. We have the opportunity to feel the warmth and love inside the walls that have nurtured us and our families.

Our world will be different coming out of this crisis, we will be different. Change is always a hard thing but it is not always a bad thing. We have been given the chance to rethink our priorities, to fix the broken things, to throw out the trash that has accumulated in our closets and our lives, but more importantly, to hang on to what matters. In the midst of this uncertainty and sorrow we have a chance to reach deep and to be creative. Humans are amazing and we can do great things now that we have been given the gift of TIME, don’t waste it.

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