I’d started a long update entry a couple months ago, but this definitely isn’t it. I’ll edit that post (heavily) and put it up (eventually), but I thought a post acknowledging that things are Very Much Not Normal Right Now was a bit more appropriate. As much as I’ve tried to act like things are totally manageable, sometimes they just aren’t.
In so many ways, I’m very lucky that nothing major has changed for me as the COVID-19 pandemic has swept its way around the globe. My corner of North Carolina has seen cases, but it’s not been as hard hit as some of the other major metropolitan areas. Most of the folks I know have stayed healthy. I still have my day job in archaeology, but have shifted to working from home. The shorter commute (bed to table in the corner of my room) is kind of nice sometimes, as is being able to take a break and go for a nice walk during the day.
The biggest change for me is events. The first event to get cancelled was Carolina Fiber Fest. I’d been looking forward to it for a couple months, had a budget, had time off from work, and had a couple of volunteer shifts lined up for the morning. It was disappointing, but I understood the decision to cancel. Within a week, cancellations and stay at home orders started coming in. The March and April events went first, followed quickly by early May events. At this point, my early June event has been cancelled, and I’d be surprised if the one toward the end of June will happen. Something like 10 potential events that were on my spring calendar are either cancelled or rescheduled for later in the year (mostly in the fall). I’ve suddenly found myself with 2+ months worth of weekends free. Prior to all of this, I had at least two events a month, and usually at least one a month that was a full weekend, and involved at least some travel and camping logistics.
With all of that gone, I’ll admit I’ve felt kind of stir crazy plenty of times. I like my people, but 7+ weeks, day in, day out, is a lot of together time. And I can’t see friends that I normally only see at these events. I’ve gotten out for walks, put in my largest garden to date, and have worked on a variety of projects, but it’s all just kind of weird (insert Rent song here). I’ve got three projects in process for my 18th century kit (a new apron, a cap, and a new pocket), but after working on them a bunch in the beginning, I just haven’t had the desire to work on them recently. I’m probably going to pull out several hours worth of stitches on the apron, as I’m not thrilled with how the gathers are distributed along half the waistband. I just don’t really feel like dealing with creating an eyelet on the bag for the cap. And I realized I need some extra fabric in various places on the pocket front (doing a patchwork pocket). I could use the time for research, but I find I can’t focus on the written word for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time outside of work hours. And my sleep is just all sorts of wonky at this point.
So I’ve been thinking more about why I do living history and the fiber arts. That will get it’s own post, I think. It’s making me slow down a lot and try to pay more attention to what I need (in terms of schedule/routine and otherwise). I’ve noticed lichen growing on a neighbor’s mailbox while out for a walk, and discovered that an edible mushroom had sprouted on the oak stump on the edge of our yard. It’s also giving me the chance to connect with folks in ways that I hadn’t before. Some of the groups I’m in on Facebook are inspiring me to keep improving my clothing (and the rest of my kit). And the upcoming Beginner’s Guide to the 18th Century Virtual Workshop Weekend is going to give me the chance to learn some new skills (including embroidery and tape weaving), and learn more (and see how others talk about) about some topics I’m already well acquainted with.
I’m trying to take it a day at a time. This isn’t going to be over any faster, so spending all my time in the future is only going to add to the frustrations created by things I can’t control. But it doesn’t mean keeping that in mind is easy. And I’m still not really sure how I feel about living through another major historical event.