The Poetry Shed

A Space for Writers
Letter from the Future

Dear Alex

April 25, 2020

Dear Alex,

You are celebrating a new beginning. Something that you have worked for and waited for is now in motion. Graduate School. You are high on the memories of your first residency. 10 days of immersion in all things literary and a mentorship just begun. It’s real and will be your life for the next two years. Beyond that, possibilities only expand. You are thinking about the future and relishing the now.

And soon. So soon. You will send your youngest off to kindergarten freeing you to write for six blissful, unbroken hours a day from Monday through Friday. For now, it’s summer. You’ve made a list of must-do and to-do activities. It will sometimes feel exhausting, but you will do everything and have a ridiculously wonderful time, for the most part. You are thinking about the future and relishing the now.

Let’s talk about some of the things on your list.

Museums. The only way that you will be able to visit museums is virtually. Yeah, like on a screen which is kind of like just seeing art in a book, but I’m telling you, it will feel like a sweet escape.

Concerts. YouTube. Facebook Live. Instagram Live. Television. That is where you find your concerts now. Decorate the living room, break out the strobe light from a long ago birthday party, charge yourself $10 for an adult beverage, and rock on.

Family Vacations. You might kick yourself for putting off that trip to London, but make the most of your week on the Cape. The only vacation you’ll be going on this summer will be through the pictures and videos you take now. Take lots of them!

Visiting your sister in Maine. Bethy will be in Maine, but not on Gooserock’s Beach and you won’t be able to join her. Actually, never mind Bethy, you will miss being able to visit the relatives who live just 45 minutes away from you. You will have grand dreams of buying an enormous house or compound and moving EVERYONE, ALL OF YOUR RELATIVES, in with you. Yes, EVEN that person… Yup, THAT person, too.

Let’s talk about some of the more mundane things, too.

Playground. The only playground you’ll be running around in is your backyard. Your living room may become a playground, too.  Eventually, you might give up and just let the whole house be a playground.

Meeting friends for ice cream. Maybe from the privacy of your own homes via video call IF, and only if, you and your friends all received ice cream in your latest grocery delivery. No actual ice cream? Grab a fake cone from the kids play kitchen and use your imagination.

Public Pools and Spray Parks. Break out the hard plastic pools and lawn sprinklers from the summers of yore. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a beach ball. Maybe wet some face cloths for the kids to ball up and throw at each other because you won’t want to waste your precious dish sponges on play. On second thought, anyone throwing anything at anyone is too dangerous. Which brings me to the last mundane thing…

Doctor’s Visits, Urgent Care, and the Emergency Room. Don’t go there if you can help it. I’m serious. All those routine appointments you’ve made for 6 months from now? Not necessary. Remember how, a few weeks ago, Abigail pushed Benjamin and he fell the wrong way and broke his wrist? That terror, fear, anxiety that you felt? Well, if someone gets injured now, you will feel all of those things a bajillion fold. DON’T LET IT HAPPEN. Oh, and the pride that you feel for your ER doctor brother? Yeah, that is going to skyrocket.

You will long for the simple pleasures of browsing a book store, perusing a farmer’s market, driving around a parking lot looking for a spot for 20 minutes, borrowing books from the library that you will inevitably have to pay fines on.

Why? What am I talking about? Have I lost my mind? What is going on?

In a few months you will be confined to your home and yard indefinitely.

I’m talking about self-isolation and social distancing for the good of all.

I have not lost my mind, yet. My temper? Occasionally, out of frustration and extreme stress.

A pandemic is raging. She may wear a halo, but she is no angel. They call her Novel Corona Virus. She is breath-taking and insidious and you will do everything that you can to avoid her at all costs.

My only advice when this comes to pass:

Think about the future and relish the now.

Staying at home? Thinking about the future!

Ordering two weeks of groceries to be delivered two weeks from now? Thinking about the future!

Planning breaks in the day for yourself and the children? Thinking about the future!

Giving the children a warning that, if they can not follow directions, you (their mother) will need to take an immediate time out? Thinking about the future!

Cuddling with your children? Relishing the now!

Watching the sunset? Relishing the now!

Singing in the shower? Relishing the now!

Taking in the scent of homemade yeast-free pita bread wafting from the oven? Relishing the now!

You’ve got this, Alex.

In Solidarity,

Yourself Mere Months From Now