Hibernating — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

Dear Diary,

The fog is thick this morning, a cold cocoon chrysalis shielding our house and holding it suspended in time. 

It has been 38 days since my last confession.

I’ve been quiet, I think, because I’m hibernating.

The isolation and confinement of trying to be wise, trying to protect our people, has forced a sort of inward focus. Like an owl tucking its face in its wing for slumber. Or a dog curled up by the fireplace, tail over its nose.

Oh, my home is still Chaos Made Manifest. Large humans prowl at all hours and yell fuck at their video screens and thunder up and down the stairs and leave evidence of whole meals made in the wee hours of the morning. Gummy sauce splatters decorate the counters. Noodles, cooked then spilled then dried, grace the stovetop burners. Crumbs from bread and cereal and crackers litter the kitchen table. Bits of shaved cheese turn into oily stones. Dogs leave muddy footprints on the floor and the couch and my bed. There is no shortage of Things Which Must Be Done: bills to pay, food to buy, chores to manage, school to monitor, and on and on and on and on.

Still, I feel as though I’m hibernating. Hunkering down. Curling in on myself. Not in a bad way. Nor just because it’s winter. But because it’s the season for it. The spot in this, the strangest of all timelines, when hunkering is required of me. 

I have a routine for this time of year. Or I did, in the Before Times. Now that routine, full of bustle and haste, is gone. It didn’t flee. It… evaporated. It was there one day, then it became air and floated away. And I know that’s hard for a lot of folks right now who are craving Normalcy, but it’s not very hard for me. I’m not mourning that this will be a different Christmas. Or, I’m not mourning it much. I long to hug my mom and my dad; other than that, I’m oddly content. Like the molecules that make up my cells recognize this blueprint, the twin demands of active rest and passive growth. Like it’s physiological. An urge like hunger or exhaustion for which the solution is clear. I want to resist it no more than I want to resist gravity. Which is to say, I sometimes pull against it anyway, but not a lot and not for long. 

 I guess… I just wanted to say I’m still here. 

Hibernating, but here.

And waving in the dark, as always,




P.S. I’ve been using this time to write and write and write and write. Not here in this space. On something wholly different. Maybe I’ll get to show you those words one day. 

P.P.S. How are you? Are you hanging in there?



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16 responses to “Hibernating — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not”

  1. Initially read “…more than I want to resist gravity “ as ‘….more than I want to resist gravy.’ Which I guess also makes sense. Waving from Salem!

  2. I’m glad you’re conserving energy…it feels like something is coming and it feels right to be ready for it!

  3. Thank you for confirming I’m normal, hibernating with moments of joy and angst, but still here, like you — waving in the dark.

  4. I made myself some pajamas. And my changing body felt loved the first night I wore them to bed. I’ve never made myself pajamas before – I’ve always worn hole-y, stained t-shirts and old leggings. But my body has been changing; perimenopause and the pandemic have joined forces. It’s often felt like a betrayal. So the pajamas were an opportunity to care for my body, to love on it even though I don’t understand it. And that was a good thing, particularly in this time when I too want to circle the wagons of my mind.

  5. As always your words comfort and ring true. My 20 year old human is home and I think she and my 16 year old human are in a contest of who can yell “fuck” the most and in the most inappropriate places. My house is in so many transitions. 20 year old home for mental and physical health support and getting ready to go into clinic. My 16 year old is becoming the young man they have known they were all this time and it is beautiful and I’m in awe of his knowledge and strength. And I am making sure I have the words and mama bearness to help him announce this to the larger family. I am on a leave of absence from teaching as my school is not practicing safe protocols and I need to be here for my kids. Lots of transitions and changing. But, it all gets to be together, in our home, and there is deep comfort in that.

    Waving to you all.

  6. “Large humans prowl at all hours and yell fuck at their video screens and thunder up and down the stairs and leave evidence of whole meals made in the wee hours of the morning.”

    AAAhhahahah, yes, yes, my house too!

  7. Hi there, Beth! Good to read you. Been thinking about you. Thanks for checking in. Sending love your way. Carry on with your valuable hibernation.

  8. Beth I’m glad to see you <3 I'm glad you're well and that hibernating is good and right for you.

    I, too, welcome the relative calm during a usually frenetic time of year, even in the middle of plenty of other chaos and craziness. Last year at this time, my spouse turned a very dark corner in his journey of depression, and the contrast with this year, thankfully on the other side of that season, feels like a Christmas miracle all by itself. I hold in my heart the many who are struggling for myriad reasons this year, and I find myself inescapably grateful for the small, quiet joy that fills our house this year.

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