After three weeks at home, the quietness grows heavy, settling in the creases of the house, under the radiator, between couch cushions, at the chemical pool in the bottom of the last Lysol bottle. Time creeps away fearfully, sinking through the checkered bug screens my dad installed in our windows on Sunday in preparation for the coming spring, because spring comes no matter what. One day bleeds into the next, like watery letters morphing into words and sentences and paragraphs and fairytales. Minutes fall into hours like cobwebs from the windowsill my mom swipes over and over. Into days into weeks into months.
We are still permitted to leave the house for daily exercise, which is strange, because before this global pandemic, no one seemed so inclined to line the bike trails and beaches. I bike faster than my dad and brother in order to keep up with my racing mind. I hurdle the roots protruding from the path, like fingers grappling at a cliff’s edge, until I come upon a clearing. I pause to let my heaving chest settle into my body again and give them time to catch up to me. Strips of moss lay out before me like a carpet, and I crane my neck at the trunks stamped into the earth, stretching towards the hollow sky, empty of planes for weeks now. I never thought about the woods being alive until this moment, but it seems to breathe. Around me, in spite of me, it fills its lungs and exhales shakily, relieved of humans’ burdens temporarily.
I think about the indifference of it all, how the brook still bubbles, chipping away at the strings of ice outlining the fleshy mud around the edges, even as another body is chained to a ventilator. The birds still flit about, exchanging wisdom between drooping boughs of pine, even as another fifty-something man tugs at his belt buckle and mutters something about the Chinese, searching for a source to blame when none can be found. The sun still bores it’s light onto my shoulders, consistently and reliably, shrouding my peach tank top in a wash of shallow radiation, even as the final stock of medical masks reads sold out on Amazon. Because spring comes no matter what.