I looked out the kitchen window and saw a flash of blue among the leaves and bushes behind my neighbor’s house.

It was a blue jay, the first I have seen this spring.

But it seemed bluer, somehow — more striking.

Is that because of the contrast in color from the drab brown I’m used to seeing this time of year? Or something else? Am I more attuned to little changes in nature?

I raked leaves yesterday for the first time this spring. Just a square of lawn, nothing to brag about. I decided that is how I will tackle raking this year: one square at a time. No rush, and when I feel the least bit winded, or my heart begins to pound from the exertion, I will stop and rest.

This is no time to go to the emergency room.


As I go about my daily activities, interviewing, writing stories, mostly from home now, I feel a sense of stillness, of being present, that I had not noticed before.

It is because, I have concluded, my mind is focused on the task at hand and not constantly looking toward what I have to do tonight, where I have to go, where I might want to go.

Being at home — mandated to be at home — has curious consequences, and not all are negative.

There is merit in having to focus on what is at hand and not always planning for what comes next.

I like this new existence. I like doing what needs to be done in and outside the house, and not anticipating what I might do later in the evening or next weekend, such as visit friends, attend a birthday party or travel to another city or state.

I ask myself if it’s selfish to be enjoying this time of immobility and quiet.


While others may be anxious from being cooped up in high-rise city apartments or other homes with no backyards, I am fortunate to have space to sit outside away from other people.

There’s no rushing to get to this meeting or that, no having to drive to the office and back, no traffic, no urgency in anything.

It’s like being a child in summer, waking up to the sun and playing the day by ear.

There’s no preparing lunches to carry to work or scrambling to get takeout food in the middle of a busy workday or skipping lunch all together.

There is time to prepare healthful meals, and partaking of them requires a mere short trek to the kitchen. No mindless consumption at my work desk or rushing home for lunch.

The news is all bad now, yes. People are scared, sick, dying, losing jobs, hungry. The economy has tanked, the future is uncertain.


Many are suffering. Most of us are waiting, watching, praying.

It’s an odd place to be, grateful for good health and enjoying a new personal peace, while at the same time feeling great pain for those hit hard by the pandemic.

It’s a time for practicing humility and patience.

And during this holiday weekend, tossing in a good dose of faith.


Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 32 years. Her columns appear here Saturdays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.

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