The first week of March 2021 is the 50th week of the pandemic, or 50 weeks since we went into shutdown, for what was then to be three weeks. Would it have been better if we had known then what we were in for? Would we have felt differently if we knew it would be a very long haul? I think some did expect it to be very bad. A company here in Fresno said they would shut down for the rest of the year. Rest of the year? We were only in the first quarter of 2020! Then the California University system said it would be shut down until the fall semester. Of course, now we know, that it would be a much longer time than either of those self-imposed deadlines.
Many people have started marking one year anniversaries since they last did a certain activity. In two weeks I can commemorate the last time I ate in a restaurant. The last time I saw a small group of friends. The last time I sat in a church pew. The last time I sat with a group of first graders at my feet to hear a story. In late February I marked the last funeral I attended. So many deaths since then, but no funeral service inside a church. No memorial luncheon afterwards.
I will not hazard a guess at what the next 50 weeks will bring. Nor will I try to conjure a picture of next March 1. The pandemic has taught me to hold everything very lightly. To not make plans but take each day as it presents itself. I have looked ahead to the stories I will read to the first graders in the next four weeks, but when I sent the titles to the teachers it was with the admonition that who knew what would occur in those weeks and it all might change. There is a slight chance, if the numbers go down, that schools may reopen. But I know visitors will not be allowed.
For the moment I am holding June in my hand and thinking about what might be possible by then. Until then I will continue to number the weeks of the pandemic and take note of how this period of time is changing me.