After my lunch of grilled veggie burgers that tasted like hockey pucks, my husband decided to prepare supper. He added onions, small round potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and sweet potatoes to a chuck roast and turned on the instant pot. Soon, savory smells filled the kitchen and tantalized the tastebuds. Patience, I repeated to myself, but my stomach growled in anticipation.
Anticipation is my word of the week. Albert Camus said, “We need the sweet pain of anticipation to tell us we are really alive.” I glance at my empty wall calendar, fantasizing about the day when I can once again fill it in with appointment times, meetings, and get-togethers. Who knew how much I would miss going to the dentist, hair salon, or dog groomer? I sharpen pencils so they’re ready for that glorious moment when I can write on the calendar again.
My husband is anticipating a father/son Canada fishing trip. We’re looking forward to a September adventure to Nova Scotia. I’m guessing you, too, are anticipating events, a vacation or a celebration. Fill in the blank. When this crisis is over and my basic needs are met, I’m most looking forward to _____________.
With the smell of the pot roast permeating the kitchen and making it difficult to think about things other than food, I head to the nearby tennis court. Even though the nets aren’t up yet, I practice my serve. I order a $20 trainer that allows a person to practice hitting the ball solo. I can’t wait for it to arrive, but more than that, to get back together with friends and play singles or doubles.
On my trip back home, I catch sight of a jogger and recall the training and anticipation before running in Crazy Legs years ago. Jogging along with some 4,000 people and having by-standers cheer us on and play the theme music to Rocky was all glorious, but I spent much more time anticipating and training for the event than the day devoted to running it. Those hours of preparation weren’t all grueling and brings up the question, “Years from now, when I look back at this time of isolation, will I be happy with how I spent my days? Did I try to make the best of it? Did I reach out to others?”
I return and the smell of roasting meat and vegetables wafts through the door. I set the table so I’ll be ready for the deliciousness when it’s time.
Meanwhile, I distract myself by heading to the basement to check on the incubating duck eggs. I plug in the homemade candler, a light fixture with a 60-watt bulb taped inside a shoebox with a cutout window. I lift the incubator lid, pull out an egg, darken the room, and hold it against the back-lit window. Now three weeks along, this embryo’s blood vessels are more developed than last time I looked, and its stronger heart pulses in rhythm. “Patience,” I say. “Hang in there, little guy. It won’t be long now.”