Six things Mr. Rogers said that help me cope with Covid-19

Dear Vi,

Do you remember Mr. Rogers and his neighbourhood? In every episode, he wore a sweater that was knit just for him by his very own mother. I just love that.

He once said something very wise that many of us, (especially writers, knitters, and quilters!) know to be true: “Solitude is different from loneliness, and it doesn’t have to be a lonely kind of thing.” He also said: “How many times have you noticed that it’s the little quiet moments in the midst of life that seem to give the rest extra-special meaning?” I try to keep this in mind during the call for social distancing during this Covid-19 crisis.

He also said: “There are times when explanations, no matter how reasonable, just don’t seem to help.” I heaved a great sigh when I read this, because we are in the middle of one of those times right now, eh?

“The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.” I think if Mr. Rogers was here today, he’d tell us that there are a few helpful things we can do during this difficult time. We can keep track of each other; make a few more phone calls; write a few more notes; help our friends and neighbours who are truly alone feel a little less lonely. We can make sure we are doing our part to keep things calm by repeating facts instead of rumour, and by letting kindness rule instead of frustration. “There are three ways to ultimate success: the first way it to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”

 Mr. Rogers also advised that: “All of us, at some time or other, need help.” So please – if you need help, ask someone. And if someone offers to help, say yes. It’s okay. We all need help sometimes. Even me. Even you.

Stay safe. Stay busy. Stay creative. Take this time to make yourself your very own comfort quilt to wrap up in, because boy is it stressful out there right now. Mr. Rogers would be the first person to applaud you for it. And please, if you’re lonely and just want someone to chat with, pick up the phone and give a friend a call.

How are you coping? I hope you’re okay.

If you want to see Mr. Rogers, you can visit him at MisterRogers.org.

It was hard to stay in touch

Dear Vi,

Obviously I haven’t been around for a bit!

It was hard staying in touch with you while we were in Dawson City last summer because I had even less access to wifi than I did the year before. So blogging was …difficult.

Since we got back last fall, I’ve been hunkered down: dealing with health, struggling with some big questions & working things out in my mind, doing lots of writing, doing lots of critiquing, a little quilting. I’ve pretty much been keeping to myself here in my little corner of the world.

I’ll catch you up on all that really soon.

Tulips and other Small Things that bring Joy

Dear Vi,

Yesterday was the official first day of spring.  The sun has crossed the celestial equator, moving northward.

I celebrated the Vernal Equinox by going outside to inspect my flower beds. Were my tulips poking green tips up through the chilly dirt yet? Yes! Yes, they were.  Small, green tips about an inch high, full of promise.

I can’t begin to say how happy that made me. Even though we’ve had a pretty good winter (by my standards, anyway), I still felt a burst of joy at the first sign of the flowers the deer find such a delicacy each spring. I am crossing my fingers they forget to check the edges of my driveway this year.

Tulips confirmed, I came inside, made a cup of tea, and tidied my sewing room. As I ran a damp dusting cloth over newly cleared surfaces, I appreciated all the things I love about this space: the way the lace curtain hangs to the side of the glass door leading out to the deck, my shelves with their bins of colourful scraps, the sampler blocks I found while tidying and impulsively arranged on the design wall, Samson watching me from his pillow in the corner, the sight of Bastion Mountain rising up into the sky, stone grey and green against the blue sky right outside my window.

Here, I’ll hold my camera up to the glass and show you:

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that bring the most joy.

What small things bring you joy?