The time before the Coronavirus seems years ago now. So much has changed from my daily life. Everyone’s life. A new normal is being created.
I sit in a lockdown thousands of miles away from my home country because of the Coronavirus. I live in Marrakech, Morocco with my husband. Besides day to day living, I do little but think. Usually late at night.
Sometimes the demons come, other times I think about life, priorities and the future. I wonder what things will be like when this ends. When will it end and how long will the lock down last. I doubt life will return as it used to be. The world will need to construct a new normal.
I have been inside over three weeks now with my husband. We have worked out a routine for ourselves. What is strange about it is the time inside has almost become normal. The outside world seems like something far away. The time before the Coronavirus seems years ago now. So much has changed from my daily life. Everyone’s life. A new normal is being created.
I used to try and go out every morning as part of a regular routine. I would stop by a cafe for coffee before running my errands. Usually I would try to sit down and write some poetry or thoughts before returning home. The walk was also part of an exercise regimen for me. Now all that has changed. I have had to find other ways to write, and my coffee is at home.
Our lockdown started on March 20th. It is supposed to end on April 20th, but that will depend on the current situation. We are averaging a little under 100 cases each day. We are now required to wear masks outside and only one person per family can go out unless there is a dire need.
In those cases, my husband would have to take me as he is the only one with a signed permission form if I need to go to the doctor or something else serious. While I understand these enforced limits, it feels strange to me. This has never happened to me before in my lifetime. It is an uneasy feeling to not be able to come and go.
I am grateful to the Moroccan government for taking the necessary steps so quickly. Instead of waiting for the cases to grow, the lockdown was imposed when there were only 63 cases. Morocco also closed all borders and stopped air travel. Shortly after that, inter country and inter city travel was also stopped.
A curfew is in place starting at 6pm. Hopefully these moves will help to contain the virus so it does not spiral out of control as in my own country, the United States.
Each day around 6pm, we turn on the local news to see the new number of cases along with any new announcements that may come. The expat group of which I am a member puts out a morning news update which is also very helpful.
It has been strange for me to watch what is happening in my own country from afar. Seeing cities where I lived and still consider home, like New York, is heartbreaking. Watching the suffering around the world is sometimes more than I can bear.There are times it is so painful to watch the news that I cannot.
I keep hoping that the virus will start to slow down and eventually leave. The only real recourse we have for now is social distancing until treatments and a vaccine are discovered. It’s not like the movies where a cure is found at the last minute saving the world. Unfortunately the real world isn’t like that.
As I sit paused, like the rest of the world, in between my schedule of chores and activities, I continue to reflect on the current state of affairs. Mother Nature seems to have been given a break from humanity. Oceans are cleaner, there is less pollution, animals are going into spaces they never did.
The planet may end up in far better shape from this pause and lockdowns around the world. One thing the virus did do was to force us to rapidly change. These changes have shown what happens when less people work outside their home, or drive, or when industry is slowed. We were able to change very quickly out of necessity.
People are reacting and reaching out online. Concerts and classes are available and things are being done now that we only thought about before. Children are going to school online. Universities have converted to an online schedule. Musicians and singers are providing concerts while being physically separated. The world has slowed down. What was important before may not be now. Priorities are shifting.
In some places at night, people open their windows or stand on their balconies to applaud the health care workers and others that are risking their lives to support society. They are the new warriors and heroes. Teachers have taken on a new value as parents have to provide the main schooling at home.
Firemen, police, grocery store workers and so many other first line workers are the true champions in the world. Science is heralded where people listen and wait for advice and the day when a vaccine is announced.
I wonder what will be important when this is over. What will really matter? Will our priorities change? Everywhere there are acts of kindness every day. People are reaching out to help and comfort in any way they can. There’s less hate and division. We are all affected, there is no safe corner. All of humanity has been touched by this virus.
Perhaps there will be less focus on material things, and a greater focus on the spiritual. Leaders are being seen for what they really are. No cloak and mirrors. New leaders are being identified and coming forward. There is less tolerance for political games. People want the truth.
Yesterday was Easter, a huge holiday for part of the world. Recently the Pope asked for all wars to stop, and for all people to come together as one.
Early evening before dinner, I watched a concert by world renowned Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli which he performed in Milan at the deserted Duomo called Music for Hope. While he sang in the beautiful cathedral he was alone except for an organist.
At the end, Bocelli walked outside in front and stood alone singing Amazing Grace while images of deserted major cities flashed onscreen. The striking beauty and solitude of the moment went straight into my heart. It was both uplifting and heartbreaking.
One of the last things I did last night was to light a candle and pray. I prayed not for myself but for the world. I asked that this end soon, and we can heal. I prayed that we can move forward to our future. Together. As one.