Spring, As Seen Through My Bedroom Window

Sophia Cetina

How can I quantify or qualify the events of the pandemic? We have numbers, and we have statistics, and we have fervent accounts, but quarantine—a term that I will use very broadly—is, in my opinion, something of an individual experience. When virtual connections fall short and the days become monotonous, people react differently. In my case, I felt as if I was going through the days from a distance. From April to June, I felt scattered, like I was going through the motions (taking classes, zooming with friends, watching movies with family) but was missing something badly.

There were no surface consequences; I finished my classes, kept in touch with friends, went on a socially distanced walk or two. But I cannot fool myself into thinking that there will be no effect on myself or others who disengaged these past months. I am incredibly lucky to have a home, stability, and resources for taking care of myself. Not everyone did, and not everyone does. How, then, do the subtle psychological effects of Covid-19 factor in for all of us? When will we begin to see them? Is it even going to be obvious? I’ve been thinking about this lately. Amidst hearing “we’re all in this together” I know that quarantine was worse for some and more manageable for others. People had to deal with different hurts, and for months, I mostly experienced life as viewed through my window—and that is an experience that won’t disappear. I’d like to share a poem that I wrote on May 12, 2020, in tedium. I title this prose “Spring, As Seen Through My Bedroom Window,” and I think it speaks to the fractured way in which so many of us saw our surroundings (and our peers!) from a distance, through a lens, or on a screen.

 

May 12, 2020–

There is so much I can say about spring as viewed through my window. At some point, though, it would stop being interesting. Always writing about the same trees, the same backyard, the same neighborhood kids cutting through it. Let me tell you all the ways I am viewing spring from three square feet of glass space. Maybe I should mention the smudges on the window caused by human palms, or the simple toothed divider between glass and screen that’s meant to keep unwanted insects out.

I could also mention the scent of antifreeze and gasoline that sometimes seeps through when the glass is lifted. Or how the family that lives close by and always grimaces hello grills on Thursday nights. The scent drifts in then, mmmmm, and I’ll inhale just a little, so as not to take too much from something that has not been gifted to me. How do I end this?

How does one end spring? I don’t want spring to end if it means not returning to Durham this fall. I don’t want spring to end if it means I’ll still be stuck at this window taking notes throughout the summer. This glass shows me more than just the backyard. It’s a sensory lens, all of it, but I’m cold right now and the sun is getting in my eye. I wish it would stop doing that. I’m not going to close the blinds, or just shut the damn window, but I really wish it would stop doing that—if only until I feel ok again.