The Quiet of a Pandemic

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The Quiet of a Pandemic

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At the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine, I was recently married (about two days) and had to immediately shift to online teaching. My school believed this was only going to last two weeks. We hadn't shifted to a live online class and were still teaching asynchronously with online meetings once a week for anyone who needed help. Since I taught U.S. History rarely did my students feel they needed help (even if they really did). My husband was still working, since his oil job was considered essential, so I found myself with hours of empty quiet time. Of course, I found myself originally spending hours watching tv and streaming countless tv shows. After a couple of days of this, I decided it was time to step outside. I'm from southern Louisiana so every good house has a porch you can sit on, and mine was perfect. My neighborhood was never incredibly loud, but I live only a few blocks from I-10 (the busiest interstate in the U.S.) and there were always traffic noises. For the first couple weeks or so of quarantine, you could hear a pin drop. It was an eerie quiet, and it took some getting used to; however, I would learn to love that quiet. I would spend my days on my porch (thanks to some unseasonably "cooler" days) reading, watching Netflix, and watching my neighborhood. Birds I had never seen or heard before were in my oak trees. I also learned that Robins are very territorial and would watch my cats like a hawk during nesting season. Blue Jays didn’t wait to see what my cats would do if they got too close to a nest the birds were swooping down on them. I learned that my oak trees have a fungus that grows on the branches and can help me learn about the health of my tree. People I had never seen before were walking with a quick hi as they walked by me. I had never heard my neighborhood so quiet before or since. While I dealt with anxiety that my husband would get sick at work, or I would somehow transmit the disease to someone who couldn't fight it I also learned to relax and enjoy the moment. I had very limited responsibilities, my students only had about 3-4 assignments a week and they were assigned on Sundays. I would certainly never wish to return to that time; I would however wish that everyone could learn to relax and enjoy the quiet even if it is from your front porch

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This item was submitted on February 3, 2022 by Rachel Yoder using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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