by Mary Robertson, 05/07/2020, Northport, MI

Adult Category

Choosing Solitude
When Corona started I wrote this Haiku:
Unexpected joy
Corona brought my kids home
Now I’m not alone
But that was then. As the weeks wore on, the walls of my 900 square foot house started a relentless inward march. Initially grateful for the unexpected company of my adult daughters, people to cook for and talk to, the novelty had worn off. They were ganging up on me a bit, making more fun than usual of my Boomer ways and I was tired of their loud late-night laughter disturbing my sleep. I was becoming peevish.
So I ran away from home. The second our governor lifted the ban on visiting vacation homes, I was gone. I got up early, cleaned the house, packed the car, left notes for my kids and drove five hours north. To my favorite place on earth. The last vestige of a former life of prosperity and hope. A house I can no longer afford but can’t bear to part with.
My kids were upset with me for pulling this stunt, giving no warning, making no plan, and after an angry text or two, they stopped communicating altogether. They are seven years apart and have often not gotten along, but now seemed to have bonded over having a common enemy–me. My latest haiku reads:
Someday I’ll be dead
So it’s good they’ve turned on me
And found each other
My new companions are deer and raccoons, northern flickers and pileated woodpeckers, wild turkeys and chattering chipmunks. I take long walks on woodland trails, sit in the warm sun on cool days and do nothing. When the cold rains come, I knit scarves and build fires. Today I cleaned out a drawer. Tomorrow I might consider a closet.
I am happy. All the grouchiness has drained out of me along with boredom and anxiety. I no longer care how long this thing lasts. I could shelter here forever. I paint watercolors of the lake and listen to music on the radio. After resisting for 40 years, I broke down and had internet installed so I can give virtual piano lessons to the surprising number of students who still want them, and who seem to be making more progress now, in this strange new world, than in the old one.
I thought I’d be lonely here but I’m not. The trees are good listeners and the lake is all the entertainment I need. I took down my dating profile. I’m learning to enjoy my own company, something I’ve needed to do for a very long time.
I miss my kids. I hope they’ll come for Mother’s Day. But either way, I know this is where I’m supposed to be at this particular, surreal moment in time.
Maybe I should move here. I can decide that later. When the world settles into whatever the new normal will look like. For now, I’m just fine waiting it out.