Corona Chronicles New Year Edition
The Corona Chronicles is designed to bring a little relief during the pandemic and will provide commentary, brief stories, poetry, book and movie suggestions, and ways to make our time at home meaningful and fulfilling. If you have ideas to submit, please contact Nancy Perkins at email@example.com.
The New Year
Let us talk no more of sadness
Or write of pandemic deaths,
Let us enter the new year
with the hope and the joy
That comes from new beginnings.
Let us wait, work, and watch
For that new day when we
once again find community face to face.
The ocean was white this morning and its surface silky smooth. Not a perfect pure white, it had just the slightest hint of gray in it, like the slightly off hue color of the bark of the birch trees standing guard at the shore’s edge. It complemented the color of the sky above it. But for the faint outline of Sears Island across the Bay, it would have been impossible to determine where the ocean ended and the sky began.
This is the eccentric face of the sea, a mask occasionally used to hide its true color, to disguise its true nature. It is playing neutral today. Though it is December, there is no look or feel of chilliness, nor rippling of the wind across the water. It could be any day of the year when the sun’s rays are blocked by the thick cloud cover.
Today the ocean’s appearance reminds me of a gigantic tureen of seafood chowder. The thin mist floating over its surface lends to the illusion of a steaming creamy broth. Secreted within the depths of the chowder I gaze upon, are the tasty morsels that tantalize my taste buds: the white flesh of Atlantic haddock, whole tender clams, succulent peekytoe crabs, delicate sweet scallops and my favorite sea dwelling creature – the Maine lobster. They are all down there, in abundance, waiting to satisfy our appetites.
I wonder if on a day like today, generations ago, someone gazed upon the milky whiteness of the sea and was inspired to combine cuisine from the briny waters with milk. Might it have occurred to them that nature was suggesting a divine recipe that has become the well-loved favorite of so many New Englanders?
This aura of white, gentle quietness which cloaks the ocean today seems a suitable counter weight to the fear and isolation with which we have been living for most of this year. Maybe it is telling us that things will be better as the page turns over into a new year. Perhaps it is reassuring us that amongst the chaos and turbulent currents we are struggling to survive, there are times when we should relax and find the moments of peaceful serenity that the ocean is savoring today.
As my gaze lingers out over the bay, a soft whisper floats in the air hinting that the white seascape in front of me portends the impending transition of the surrounding landscape into a bright white winter wonderland. I know that the fury of the storms that will transform my view of the world will arrive very soon. I think the change will be good as the snow will brighten not only the ground but also will boost our spirits, for a short time at least.
It may be quite a while before I see the ocean’s demeanor so serene again. I am curious to see what face it brings tomorrow. When it is cold and tempestuous in the middle of the winter, I will call upon the memory of today’s ocean. I will settle into my comfy chair with a view out over the bay and dip my spoon into a hot bowl of chowder topped with a pat of melting butter.
Brenda Smith fulfilled a life-long dream when she moved to Belfast in 2019. An accounting graduate of Bentley University, she worked as a CPA and Vice President of Finance for several non-profit organizations. She earned her MS from Suffolk University in Philanthropy and Media and has produced, directed and edited many award winning videos. She is most proud of the coveted “Telly” award on her desk. Now retired, she is busy with several writing projects: an early memoir recounting some of her hair-raising global adventures, a later memoir about living with the extremely rare Stiff Person’s syndrome, and writing short essays about things in life that make her smile. She is a board member and treasurer of Belfast Senior College.
Reflection on the holidays
Living alone in the time of a pandemic makes celebrating holidays without family or friends challenging to say the least. Having had a hard time over Thanksgiving, I was determined to do better with Christmas. My guaranteed way to pick up my spirits is to get out in nature with my dog, Leila. There, it is always beautiful, peaceful, and restorative. In spring I’m enthralled watching everything come back to life, from little sprouts of new growth to spring flowers and the leafing out of the trees. In the summer it is cool under the trees and the perfume given off by the pine trees is better than anything produced in Paris. In the fall it’s like walking through a painting with all the hues of red, gold, yellow, and russet – I can get drunk on the beauty of nature’s palette. In winter, when the wind is bracing and snow is on the ground, the woods take on a special beauty with the trees bare to the sky showing off their stunning architecture. All is well when you are in the woods.
Janet retired to Maine from Cleveland in 2007. She lives in Searsport with her dog and two cats, and ventures daily into the great outdoors.