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Whenever I hear someone telling us to “shelter-in-place” I wonder who came up with that rather strange way of saying “stay at home.”
When I’m told to shelter in place, the first image that comes to my mind is from my childhood when I loved to drape a quilt over a card table and crawl underneath with a flashlight and book, or even better, with a good friend to whisper secrets with.
I also have mental images of stretching a tarp between trees and huddling underneath to escape a sudden rainstorm. Not that most of us will have a tarp with us when we are caught in a rainstorm, but you can do most anything you want in mental images.
A more pleasant image is sitting on a bench in the shade of a pergola with wisteria dripping overhead, or under a gnarled old scuppernong vine that smells pleasantly of summer. Unlike real life, I can picture it with no wasps buzzing about.
And then my flights of fantasy take me places I’ve never been, like a stone grotto in some exotic European country or a brightly striped cabana on a Caribbean beach.
As we hunker down for the long haul, I have a feeling that we are going to need all the mental quilts, card tables, tarps, wisteria and scuppernongs, grottos and cabanas we can get our minds around to help keep our spirits up.
As we shelter in place, our place of shelter becomes the focal point of our lives. At least we can look outside at the budding trees (and unfortunately the pollen), the flowers and the birds and bees that don’t know about COVID-19. They just know it’s spring.
Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.