In this self-isolation during our Covid-19 outbreak, I no longer have weekly Meeting for Worship, regular committees or social gatherings, rehearsals, or daily indoor lap swimming to define my daily schedule. Even for an introvert like me, their absence can be disconcerting.
It does alter my awareness of aligning myself with the outside world. I mean, it’s been ages since I’ve watched television, so knowing what’s on any particular night is irrelevant.
What happens is an alternate awareness.
It was Saturday afternoon, no doubt in my mind.
No, it’s Friday, my wife asserted.
No, it’s Saturday. I had the number of the date in my head, thanks to the little numerals in the corner of my laptop screen earlier in the day. But the name of the day didn’t register. A Saturday would explain the number of people I encountered out on the trail in the woods along the Isinglass River.
Back home, ready to prove my wife wrong, I turned to the wall calendar. The date fell under a Friday, not a Saturday. How could that be?
The jolt left me feeling a bit wobbly. You know, Rip van Winkle mode. I felt I’d lost a day, like a pair of missing socks, maybe. Well, actually, I had gained one, but it didn’t feel like finding a 20-dollar bill. Something still felt hollow.
But then, something also felt healthy, as in being more fully focused on the little things I’m taking on.
It’s been a long time since I experienced that, probably nearly a half century, back when I was living in the yoga ashram, distanced from the daily affairs of society. There, every day was full and special. Yes, we had some connection with the weekly calendar – guests arriving and departing on the weekends, especially – but there were few other demands that required knowing the names of the days. Instead, it was more Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday.
I came to consider that living in “real” time, rather than externally defined hours and days and their nights.
So here we are. Yes, I still need to consult my weekly planner. No escaping that.
And my daily to-do lists remain important.
I know things will change when we all get back to normal, whatever that will be at the time. The fact remains that what we’re encapsulated in now is unique.