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Once Again, It's the Rain that Draws Me Out

26 April 2020


It’s soothing to watch the world shift from a single, physical vantage point. For me, that point is now, and historically has been, a porch. As a child, I used to delight in thunderstorms with my dad from the screened in porch off the side of our home. When I was a student at Bates Dance Festival, I participated in the nightly ritual of dancers, musicians, faculty members, and resident company dancers congregating together for porch parties that spilled into the street and occasionally lasted well into the next morning. One time, I fell in love on a porch.


Today, I sit on the back porch of my first floor apartment building. As with those childhood thunderstorms, it’s once again the rain that draws me out. It’s colder outside that I would have liked; despite it being the end of April, I’m still clad in a down jacket. I have trouble making peace with frozen fingertips although the slight sting of flushed cheeks does come with a small sense of adrenalized glee. When I come inside, I like to touch the tip of my nose and marvel at its ability to maintain a completely different temperature than the rest of my face.


I’ve lived in Massachusetts for nearly 30 years and still haven’t acclimated to the cold’s tendency to declare itself at random. There is some grace though - the bright daffodils that our upstairs neighbors have recently planted in a far corner of our small backyard give the deceptive illusion of warm weather. Regardless of the raw air, the sound of the rain and promise of new life budding on the trees lures me out to investigate. I judge how effectively springtime is poking its head out to play by the extent to which allergies affect me in the morning. When my face needs a clearing out, I know that the flowers are fighting the good fight and that more color is on the way. I grin as I blow my nose.


The world is wrought with conundrums. Here we are, staying at home, yet I find myself outside more regularly, a product of collapsed schedule and self determined timing. Masks no longer scare me. When I pass another walker on the street, it’s easy to spot the way his eyes shift as his hidden mouth upturns in a smile. There’s a person under there. I find it curious how we have all been thrown into a state of global adaptation with changes happening so quickly.


In early March, I wrote a journal entry to myself about the burgeoning hysteria over toilet paper, a few days later, my favorite cafe closed down and all of my work came to a halt. We opted to set up a dance residency in our apartment. The grocery store marked it’s aisles with footprints and tape to help customers remain 6 feet apart from one another. Schools closed through the rest of the year. I reinvigorated a long lost love of ice cream and an appreciation for nail polish. Are things slowing down, or speeding up? I’m not quite sure.


-J


#fieldnotes #journal #porchstories #COVIDchronicles #

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