This a daily account of artist and mother, Ruth Chase. A post a day about her experiences during the Covid-19 during social distancing. Living in Northern California between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. Feel free to comment or write you’re own daily experience at the bottom of the page.
If JOY were my destination I would be lost as where to find it. This week I’m going to write a daily gratitude focus. I feel stupid even saying those words out loud. DAY 1: I am grateful I can escape the smoke.
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”- Sylvia Plath
2001, I remember this day and exactly where I was. Living in Meadow Vista, CA as a single woman. It was traumatizing, unbelievable. I just want to say that I mark this day as the same feeling, only that it’s been a slow trickle to get here, while 9/11/01 was all at once. May peace rule our hearts, may love guide us in trying times.
Nevada County: Total Cases of COVID 478, 5 deaths, 288 West County, 190 East County
At first, with COVID it was hard to work, but things kept getting harder and more stressful so that now all I can do is work to keep my sanity.
Life feels like I’m living in a house who with parents divorsed and I am choosing to stay in my room because I don’t want to be part of their arguments. They are asking the wrong question, they insist on arguing about who is right and who is wrong instead of how are we going to get through this together.
I’ve almost gone numb, I’d like to call it surrender, what will be will be. I can’t take the drama anymore and I’m finding myself constantly refocusing. As if that muscle is just getting stronger and stronger. Refocus on family, art practice, and kindness.
Last night we were certain we may need to evacuate, but then once CalFire had all the updates realized it wasn’t as close as we thought. Tonight we will sleep with our phones on, cars packed, ready.
Wild fire season, car packed just in case
Nevada County: Total Cases of COVID 255, 1 death, 116 West County, 139 East County
Nevada County: Total Cases of COVID 228, 1 death, 100 West County, 128 East County
I’m not one.
Or the other.
MY MAYBE UNREALISTIC THOUGHTS ABOUT SCHOOL OPENING
I am one of those parents who hope for on-campus school to open with a totally different model than what we’re used to.
I find it interesting that mental health is at the forefront of all things going on right now. And with our teens, it strikes me as being critical to moving forward.
I’m sure it’s unrealistic, but here are my thoughts. And I fully recognize that the schools have a tremendous burden to deal with, and teachers must feel safe. I feel quite lucky to live in a place that is likely thinking out of the box on these things already.
That the schools’ primary function when on campus is to hold a space for our youth to be together for their mental health and stimulate a desire to continue their education for when they are at home. If only a couple of days a week. And for as long as they can hold classes outside. Sitting on the ground, walking, moving.
Smaller groups with all the social distancing, mask waring stuff. Taking a more off-grid approach. Zoom classes at home that require video participation unless unable, so kids see each other and keep a connection going. Create our on-campus schools to hold space for our youth if for nothing more than a tiny lifeline of connectedness and less concern about traditional education.
The longer the pandemic – the more feral I become.
I suspect when it comes to COVID we are 100% being lied to, and we will not really know until a decade passes. However, I still feel the same about waring masks. Not because we always need to, because it puts people at ease even when they are feeling fear. It’s a community statement, not a political statement. Also, because I can’t know anything for sure.
I refuse to live in fear or do something to make someone else fearful. Everyday is a struggle, my only goal is to keep from wanting to give up and being there for Adrienne. Staying positive and staying away from catastrophic thinking. No one knows anything for sure with so many opinions that have proof flying around. I most certainly know one thing for sure, that hope and being positive in the face of chaos is a lifeline.
Let’s not confuse neutrality with the right to pause and take thoughtful action.
News – Gossip?
The end of BELONGING Saturday Morning Question. Ended on a quiet note because of all the unrest in the world. I’m still processing, but will comment on it at some point.
I don’t believe there is one truth, I believe there are many truths that coexist at the same time, that is why I have to follow my own truth.
It’s my baby’s 15th birthday today. Being in quarantine is not her birthday wish. There has been lots of sadness about not being able to celebrate with her new group of girlfriends. Even though we’re doing well, with lots of talking and listening, it is also a time of challenging mental health for many families with teens.
To be still, to listen
To my breath
The beat of my heart
The sound of my soul
My personal path
On the collective
I’ve started a weekly live program on Instagram with Chantelle called THE ART OF COLLABORATION. @cgoldthwaite and I have decided to work in cardboard for a collaborative piece recorded on IGTV. We will each be doing our own piece that will come together as possibly a diptych. We wanted a way to inspire each other and you to be creative during the shelter in place. it’s being totally made up as we go along.
I wish I could see you, seeing me being a mother. A wild child and also your caretaker, we were quite an odd match. It was you and I, always. I remember when you were living, grabbing onto you like a child, though in my 20s. I was sad that you would die one day because you were all I had. You taught me humility, compassion, unconditional love, and the importance of loving people, all people. It wasn’t until I became an adult, beyond your departure that I really implemented what I learned from you by the example you lived effortlessly.
MAY 6, 2020
I hung out with my girlfriend Heather the other day. We’ve been getting together in her backyard. I bring my cooler over with my own cocktail and appetizer and we set across the table from each other. At one point I was overwhelmed with emotion. I realized how much spacial intimacy I take up. A gentle lean into a whisper, touching her knee as a hand gesture to say, I care, or even a slap of the table with me belting out a big (spittle full) robust laugh was all shut down. I had this thought, was this what it is like to be a proper lady? How exhausting and how boring. Anyhow, it sucked.
MAY 2, 2020
That’s it, I’m ready to put on my mask full time and resume my life.
MAY 1, 2020
Adrienne’s birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks. She is beginning to feel really down about not just her birthday but thinking about all the events that were canceled over summer. A trip to Disneyland with my sister is one such event. It has been really hard lately, I can only imagine what it’s like to be her age and an only child. Sigh
APR 29, 2020
Herd mentality makes more sense when you learn about how herd immunity works.
APR 27, 2020
Its hard to know what authentic thoughts and feelings I’d have when I’m spoon-fed perspectives by “experts” with a limited insight diet.
APR 25, 2020
Our home, the one I hated only months ago is becoming my dream home. We are working on the yard so we have a place to be during the summer, with shade and placed to sit. As of today, Nevada County West has 12 cases of Coronavirus.
APR 22, 2020
I had a conversation with a family member the other day, in so much fear. It wasn’t like I disagreed with them. My take away after sifting through our conversation over and over the past few days was that I am always presented with fear, realities that are possible nightmares, but that I have a choice to hold my attention on solutions where there is less fear for me. My mantra yesterday was ….. Problem-solving is where hope lives, where innovation thrives. I just kept thinking about that. CHOICE: It’s an amazing place we live, here on earth. And choosing is one of the great experiences that we get to interact with.
APR 20, 2020
A REBIRTH A PIVOT
“Ruth, you will need to reinvent yourself after having a child. Don’t make plans to go back to where you were before you were pregnant; instead, plan on your rebirth. What you need in your new life will become visible. The more you resist change, the harder it will be.” Retrospective perspective.
I am in yet another rebirth with this quarantine, and I must drop what I thought about myself, my world, my home, my life, and allow a renewal, a pivot, to transform me.
If I remember correctly, the rebirth happened against my will. It took me screaming and clawing. I’m thinking I could learn from my past.
APR 19, 2020
I have finally landed in a space I can call my own. I have a studio. For the past seven months, I’ve been struggling with on and off depression. I never realized just how vital my studio was to my mental health until it was taken away. And during this quarantine, it’s been painful not having a place to recalibrate, create, wonder. I’m here now writing to you, listening to the birds outside my window, dog at my feet. I can have my own thoughts here, I can be myself here.
APR 15, 2020
I sat outside today for three hours, just staring at the yard. Wondering, what am I worth, who am I valuable to, why make art, when will I feel like doing anything.
APR 13, 2020
I’ve decided to take this week for me. I have a few work items, but my plan is to stop using distractions from making me feel. So with few exceptions, I plan on getting outside more, doing something in my studio, and meditating.
APR 11, 2020
APR 10, 2020
PIVOT. This is my word for our pandemic. I have come to a stop. Up against a wall, a wall of mirrors. I am questioning everything. The value of what I do, want to do, the direction my life and energy I put out into the world.
In an interview with David King today I heard him loud and clear. This pandemic is many things to many people. For some of us, it is a gift, not to be wasted. While others are suffering, some of us have time to make contributions to the world through our art and creativity. Don’t waste the gift of time.
APR 9, 2020
I started this morning with tears in my coffee. Talking to my friend Juliette about feeling that all my aspirations and everything I was working so hard for has been cut off, leaving me sad, confused, and lost. Juliette is a dancer, she now lives with MS. When I interviewed her earlier this year for HOME. Asking her, what does home mean to her, she replied that it is her world. She watched her the boundaries of her life go from full movement closing in slowly, eventually becoming the walls in her home. I cried so hard talking to her, thinking of what she has been through. For her shelter in place has already been her life.
APR 7, 2020
How to engage people you can’t touch is, in essence, an invisible bridge. It can’t be built; it needs to be conceived. Everything about this makes my soul soar, using digital media as a tool to create authentic connections.
APR 6, 2020
Dear Sadie, Monday, not like any other Monday.
APR 3, 2020
Catastrophic thinking and conspiracy theories.
The sky is not falling. Big shit is happening on an energetic level, maybe even crazy stuff that is unimaginable. And while there may be some truth in a few of these claims the way they are reported makes any of it unbelievable. For example, I am not a fan of 5G and there could be some impact 5G is doing, but the extreme news and the lack of hard evidence with these news claims make any link to 5G look ridiculous. And the whole thing feels more like fake news and covert reporting to tear people apart rather than anything. I know fear is driving this, so I think I will stay away from all of this to maintain my sanity.
News: Engineer intentionally derails train near L.A. hospital ship over coronavirus conspiracy theory, feds say.
“A Fake Pandemic”: Anti-Vaxxers Are Spreading Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories
Coronavirus has conspiracy theorists and anti-5G campaigners working overtime
MAR 31, 2020
I let myself feel like crap the past few days because that’s just how all of this felt, crappy. Now I feel like I can focus on what is and go with the flow a bit more. Humans are amazing, how they flex, resist, and reshape to their environment. I have never been so aware of my spit, my hands, and how my throat feels. Thank you COVID.
MAR 30, 2020
It’s a Monday morning and that means Ryan off to work, thank goddess he has a bit of work he can do safely. And Adrienne will do homeschool, that finally started and she really needs it to keep her focused on something other than her phone. For me, I am working on a few online classes, also working on the HOME project, and a couple of side projects I volunteered to do for Nevada County Arts Council. Big exhale.
I woke up with another level of awareness about how to handle Covid19 properly when cleaning, washing food, etc… I’m going to have to assume that what we have been doing was effective so I don’t freak myself out.
MAR 27, 2020
I HAVE NOTHING I WANT TO SAY OTHER THAN I’M UNCOMFORTABLE.
MAR 26, 2020
Working through my glum feelings, wondering when INSPIRATION to work will come.
I have time, but no motivation.
Remembering that creativity works on its own timing.
Seeing this time as a research and development phase.
Shifting gears from what was to what is.
Being still instead of reactive.
Sigh….News: New York’s hospitals are pushed to the brink. At least 81,578 people in the U.S. are known to have been infected with the coronavirus, including more than 1,000 deaths. That’s more cases than any other country has recorded, according to data gathered by The New York Times.
MAR 25, 2020
Dear Sadie, I am selfish.
MAR 24, 2020
There are two kinds of days, weekdays and weekends, and they no longer have any significance or play a role as a marker for when to do anything. Yesterday SUCKED BIG TIME. Today I have a better outlook. When Adrienne wakes, my focus will be on spending time with her; I can tell she needs a push to get into this new norm and find a rhythm. News: Since the first U.S. case of the coronavirus was identified in Washington state on January 21, health officials have identified more than 46,000 cases across the United States and more than 500deaths. By March 17, the virus had expanded its presence from several isolated clusters in Washington, New York and California to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
MAR 23, 2020
Dear Sadie, It's Monday, every day is blending into the next. Blehhhhhhhhhh News: Our health reporter Donald McNeil writes: “If it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all Americans freeze in place for 14 days while sitting six feet apart, epidemiologists say, the whole epidemic would sputter to a halt.”
MAR 22, 2020
Dear Sadie, Yesterday Adrienne and I transformed our two garden beds. Seeing them first thing this morning made me fall in love with our home and space, truly uplifting. As we sit in our tidy and uninfected community I see news articles about people refusing to take social distancing seriously and other posts with nurses begging for better treatment and reassuring the public that staying home is helping everyone. Every day is filled with turbulent emotions. When will I want to paint or make art, I have no idea.
MAR 21, 2020
Dear Sadie, Here comes the weekend, no plans to be social or to go anywhere. Thinking of a car drive someplace with a picnic. Even if that doesn't happen today, it will be out next outing as a family. Waiting for better weather to do some gardening.
MAR 20, 2020
Dear Sadie, I am afraid, but not panicked, I feel dread for our country, and for the world, but excited to be restricted to home. Reading a headline that 50% of all Californians will have Coronavirus fucked with my head. On one hand, I'm not afraid of the virus, on the other hand, I don't want to get it, at least not this year. I worry about all the what if's. And I find listing to people who are upbeat about this whole thing annoying, especially fucking menials. Don't get me wrong, I see their point of view. The earth needs a break, humans need this life lesson and the mother crown blah blah blah that feels like bullshit and way too early to dig into the benefits of all of this crap. The first step of grieving is denial, I just past that one, the next step is pain and that is where I'm at.
MAR 19, 2020
Dear Sadie, I woke up feeling grounded, good sleep. Then a call from my husband who is feeling freaked out. Big exhale. Will the banks' collapse, will our tenants be able to pay the rent, what is our new protocol for keeping clean, should we go through our backdoor and take our clothes off before coming into the house if we went out into the world? So basically, I'm freaked out one day, then mellow out until someone else comes near me freaked out. And one more thing. I am not a fan of our President, when he talks I wence. But this morning listening to him I felt hopeful, a moment of graditude from a very unexpected place. Top of the News: Confirmed Coronavirus Cases In The U.S. Nears 10,000. The country closes in on that marker days after all 50 states reported cases of COVID-19 disease. Jobless claims across the country have also spiked amid desperate attempts to keep the virus at bay.
MAR 18, 2020
Dear Sadie, I just passed the denial phase, now feeling scared and hurt. I think the next phase of grieving is anger, just a guess. Last night I tossed and turned with every negative thought, another to counter it with a positive one. My challenge now is to keep things flowing with my teen daughter, who is home from school. To stop getting sucked into the media and worry more than being there for her. Top of the News: Trump Shuts Border With Canada, Blames 'Chinese Virus' As Coronavirus Spreads. The president said the border would close by "mutual consent," the latest development in the coronavirus pandemic he increasingly has called "the Chinese virus."
MAR 17, 2020
Dear Sadie, Every day for the past month feels more and more bizarre and unreal. I go from feeling totally fine to feeling overtaken by dread. Today we got power back; it lifted our spirits a bit. Adrienne and I drove through Burger King to get food and quickly back home to our safe nest.
MAR 16, 2020
Dear Sadie, I woke from my sleep last night, not sure what time it was as we had a winter power outage. Feeling like it was the straw that broke the camels back. Our first week being asked to stay home, no school for our kids, and things getting serious, and then no power and all that entails. Anyhow, I woke with my head spinning on all the dominoes that I could imagine falling. People losing work, kids no longer in school, one thing after another, totally overwhelmed. The sound of a clock ticking down to a time that no one will know what will happen.
MAR 15, 2020
When I was a young girl, I would write in my diary; I named my diary Sadie. I can't remember if that was an acronym for something? It's been a while. I'm writing to you, Sadie, because I am witness to what is going to be a very memorable time in history. Covid 19 is happening dispite my desire to participate.
MAR 13, 2020
New rule, everyone who enters our home must wash their hands with antibacterial soap and warm water. A first for me, my policy use to be, lick everything, environmental immunization is what I called it.