‘Not knowing is most intimate’ – Dizang.
And so we continue, not knowing how exactly it is going to unfold.*
Since the weather has been nice, fittingly for the beginning of spring, with white cumulus clouds in a warm blue sky that reminds me of good spring days in England, I have gone out on my bike every afternoon for an hour or so, covering every quarter of the city, without really having a set plan, trying alternative ways between known points. There are flowers blooming everywhere – lupins by the bay, a cluster of California poppies and irises on Twin Peaks. I am still surprised at how busy the city feels despite the shelter in place order, which is now state-wide. Many people are obviously exercising; the only restraint I have seen was a police patrol vehicle up at Twin Peaks telling people parked at the viewpoint to leave.
I also ventured out for groceries on Friday. Trader Joe’s has reduced its hours, so I arrived before opening time. The line snaked around the parking lot and up onto the road, which felt a little depressing, but in fact, despite the signs stating that they were letting only twenty-five people into the store at any time, things moved smoothly once the doors were open. I noticed the normal tendency to want to concertina in as the queue moved forward, but I and the people around me all resisted. There were a few bare sections inside – toilet paper being the stand-out one again – but mostly things seemed well-stocked, and I picked up just about everything I wanted.
One thing I have noticed is that while I have a number of ‘back-burner’ projects that I easily have time to undertake now, I have been reluctant to pick any of them up. I imagine – rather than ascribing mere laziness – that I am trying to allow myself to settle into this new reality, where there are so many reasons not to be able to settle.
Obviously, I have still been leading meditations – and also following along when my lovely colleagues from Core Studio have been leading – and I will do more next week (Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 8am). Zachary and I will offer a sit on Zoom instead of our outdoor meditation on the Embarcadero on Monday. And I had the idea to write out cue sheets so that people could take a roam for themselves on a popular route we have done in the past. Underneath that though, I can feel the gnawing that tells me things aren’t ‘right’. And that’s what we all get to live through right now.
* This article does a pretty amazing job of spelling out how things might unfold. Other stand-out articles for me this week, if you want to read about the virus, have been an account of the testing fiasco in the US, good advice on anxiety, and a brief interlude of humour.
The bridge from Crissy Field on Thursday afternoon.
Spreckels Lake in Golden Gate Park.
Looking down towards the bay from Twin Peaks on Friday afternoon. A certain cruise ship can be seen at its new mooring, above Bernal Hill on the right.
California poppies on the slope of Twin Peaks.
I was sheltering in place on Friday afternoon, with the door to the deck open, and a hummingbird flew right in. It took a little while to be sure that it couldn’t get through the window, but then managed to navigate its way out again.