Operation Oysterhood: 1 April

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.


There is a place I often go to in my head when I want to feel at peace: it is the shower cubicle in our cottage at Oudrif where veld visitors come to say hello through the fiberglass and not only the dust and sweat of the day get washed off, disappearing down the drain with all world’s worries. Sometimes, I stand under my own shower, close my eyes and think of the picture above, and everything calms down inside.

You can think of me standing there for the next few days – not only in my head, but in reality. There is no internet and no cellphone reception, so I won’t be blogging over Easter, but I will be in the safest headspace possible.

Tragic news reached us today, and it is very difficult to think beyond it, to know that someone you care about is utterly shattered and nothing, absolutely nothing, will ever be the same again. And there is very little you can do about any of it.

I met with an author today to discuss the final editing notes on the manuscript we have been working on. We had a socially distanced lunch in the garden, talked manuscript, books, life and loss. Afterwards, I couldn’t visit my dear friends living nearby because they are isolating due to possible Covid-19 exposure.

I cleaned the pool and mowed my small lawn in the late afternoon and sat in the garden with a glass of wine in the evening, thinking about the frailty of life. A friend stopped by to say hello. I spoke to Mom and Krystian on Skype. I replied to a million emails.

Grief is unpredictable. After a shattering, how do we ever pick up the pieces? How do we ever leave the safety of a shower cubicle at the end of the world – where the devil says good night, as the Polish saying goes … How? Especially now, when most of us are heavy with loss.

All that remains is the casting of spells: Oudrif. Oudrif. Oudrif.

Stay safe, please.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


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