Newsletter | Mar/Apr 2021

Life during lockdown
by Marda Quon Stothers

February 2020 I was in ceramics classes Mondays and Tuesdays, attending an inspiring Catholic women’s group meeting and cooking for ten folks every Wednesday and trying to walk with Mui weekly. I took four trips over three weeks that month. I took a day trip to LA to meet a Spiritual Journey Group of six women commiting to journey together for a year. I returned to LA for a 5 day trip to run around and see old friends. I spent a few days in Memphis after a beloved friend died and a few days in Sacramento to discuss and consider co-housing. That was the life I loved; to travel a lot and interact with as many people as possible. In March I caught a cold which developed into bronchitis so I literally sheltered-in-place hoping it wasn’t COVID-19 for five weeks rather than my dying in 5 days.

My April trip to Australia and New Zealand was cancelled including Qantas’ route so we got our money back. Ceramics was cancelled. Wednesday meeting and dinner were cancelled. No plans back to Northern Ireland for the summer farm sitting, barn building and international conference on women’s equality. Everything is postponed.
At first I was waiting but now I acknowledge my life has changed. My work of community building, advocacy and art was retooled.

My church went to Zoom. I started baking cookies and making a “You Matter” bag for each household. With a team assembled and delivered a bag every week to 135 people. I got involved in racial reckoning with a discussion group and some writing.
The summer dragged by day, day, day, until I found a walking partner. We meet up at 8 a.m. and walk 3 miles nearly every day. My blood pressure went back down. My tenants and I visited Yosemite in July and browsed my grandfather’s birthplace in Coulterville. I left town with Suzan Swabacker for Westport during the fires AQI-5. Fort Bragg and Mendocino are still great towns. We talked development and refinance with my contractor friend. Then for election mania I wrote letters to Texas and postcards to Iowa. I rejoiced.
Such a different year! Those with regular work got very busy coping with new protocols. Since I have work that is stimulated by travel and others I floundered for several months. I still made lists. I worried. I rested. I changed. I have found a new rhythm. Call, email or text as I’d love to connect. You all mean a lot to me.