The stillness envelops the hills and valleys like a soft mist. Lulled by the waking, sitting, pacing, and sleeping, each foggy day melts into the one ahead and falls in line with the ones behind.
The homes, their day-lit moments once spent in silent and watchful anticipation, now adopt new rhythms — heartbeats pulsing from the activity of newfound hours. Families, neighborhoods, workplaces, towns, cities… separate yet connected by an invisible and electrified network. A chorus of voices and a patchwork of faces, traveling on waves, shielded by screens, walls, windows, porches, and fences.
A captive[ated] audience.
Action in [in]action.
The people, no longer relegated by fashion and appearances, keep time in sweatpants. Tethered to their devices: phones, laptops, tablets, TVs; their bare feet rest on couch cushions, swing freely from the edge of sofas, tuck under folded legs.
The dogs don’t know what to think or who to thank. Regular walks, naps, belly rubs, and snacks— from dawn ’til dusk?! The cats — well, who really knows? They blink their eyes, lick their paws, arch their backs, stretch their legs, and yawn, perhaps grateful for the extra company, perhaps not? And the children — wiser than their years — mirror and contrast the behaviors of their elders — excited and animated one moment, pensive and introspective the next.
A heavy pause: pregnant, expectant; guilty in its pleasure and reticent in its awareness that this housebound leisure — or unease — is temporary.
Like mist rising in the warming sun, this stillness will eventually dissipate. Patterns will reemerge. Habits will reassemble. In its typical resilience, humanity will carry on.
Resilience, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is ‘the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress’ and/or ‘an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.’
But resilience, in its everyday interpretations and associations, deserves closer inspection. Is our fundamental ability to manipulate and ‘make do’ — our resilience — actually a fundamental weakness?
What if, instead of holding fast and bearing down, instead of torquing and wrenching to adapt the environment to us, we bend and adjust to it? We might not come out looking the same way that we came in. We might find ourselves a few rungs lower on the manifest ladder. But, with a new beginning, we might arrive at a different end.
Sometimes, resilience makes do with submission and patience.
This post also appears in the Little House in the Burgh blog: https://littlehouseintheburgh.wordpress.com/2020/03/23/resilience-a-paradox/