I wake every morning looking out at the still-snowcapped Byers Peak with a pinkish hue from the sunrise. I believe in starting each day by giving gratitude and now more than ever I realize the importance of being grateful for my life.
While the world is melting down around me, I watch Instagram-worthy sunsets over the mountains each evening. I take photos nearly every evening and am in awe of the ever-changing kaleidoscope.
Sweet Pea, the year-old Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler we rescued less than a month ago, seems to be equally enthralled by the spectacular landscape that surrounds us. She sits on our bed upstairs looking out, or on the deck in the backyard with a keen eye looking for the fox and lone coyote that roam the fields behind us.
Spring is upon us and the snow is finally melting. In the last week, the pond behind the house has completely thawed and the geese and ducks have taken up residence. The peepers are starting to chirp quietly and I am looking forward to their full-blown chorus. I am watching a crow build a very large nest in the eaves of my neighbors house. Tonight I watched the full moon rise over Granby Ranch.
I have so much to be grateful for.
Meanwhile, around the country, the new normal of our overturned society is so different from person to person and place to place. I talked to a colleague who leaves her groceries in the garage for a few days before bringing them into the house for scrubbing.
A close friend FaceTimed me from New York City while walking down an empty Lexington Avenue in front of Bloomingdales with a mask on. She was heading to the subway to Queens where she planned to rent a car and drive around to get out of the one-bedroom apartment she shares with her teenage daughter.
Others talk shockingly matter-of-factly about family and friends who have died from COVID-19, the illness associated with the new coronavirus. Yet other people I speak to are going about their day-to-day life as if nothing has changed. Going to the office. Babysitting their grandkids. Dropping into happy hour at the local bar.
Me? I’m sheltering in place in Granby, Colorado, with my significant other.
It has been over a month since my work travel was canceled and I haven’t left Granby since. I am working more hours than ever for less money due to what I hope are temporary pay cuts, but I am grateful to have a job.
Our house is not large enough for two home offices so I have set up my desk at the dining room table and am fortunate to have a wall of windows looking out at an incredible view. My biggest challenge in prepping for my virtual video meetings is finding a suitable backdrop in a house that has more windows than walls. I frequently opt for the wall with the coat rack filled with cowboy hats, which prompts quite a few comments from colleagues around the country.
Yesterday, a California colleague commented how Zoom has made us all so real, saying that “cowboy hats are so you.”
Most days, I take a hike with my dogs, Sweet Pea and Bandit, on a trail nearby where I rarely see anyone. The panoramic view is incredible and I remind myself how lucky I am to be here in Grand County.
We keep our horses at a ranch in Fraser and drive out at the end of our work day to feed them. This week we started shedding them and working them. Once a week or so someone else shows up at the ranch to do the same but we are well apart from one another.
Admittedly, having lived in the mountains of Vermont for many years, I am not a fan of mud season/shoulder season. I am typically not uptight about getting dirty but for me there is nothing worse than a pasture of snow, mud, ice, urine and manure.
Our plan was to take the horses to a friend’s ranch in Elizabeth for April and May and stay in Denver. But those plans, like all others, have changed. So instead, I walk my horse through the ankle deep mud hoping my boots don’t get sucked off and try to stay focused on the incredible beauty of the surrounding mountains and the bright blue sky.
I breathe in the fresh air and think about a good friend who had the virus and told me that for three days she felt like there was a fire in her lungs. Fortunately, she has recovered and she too can once again appreciate the fresh mountain air.
On the way home from the ranch, I stop into Murdoch’s to pick up horse wormer and become acutely aware that everyone but me is wearing a mask. This is my first time at a store in five days and the governor just started to encourage everyone to wear a mask last evening so I realize I am behind the curve.
I feel like I am in a sci-fi movie and suddenly I’m totally freaked out and can’t wait to get home to my safe haven. I start to wonder if there is a light at the end of this very long, strange tunnel.
Tonight as I lie in bed, the full moon is lighting up the cloudless sky. I am restless and am trying to envision what life will be like if we ever get to the other side of this pandemic. I attempt to meditate but my mind will not stop racing.
I think of the beautiful words written by Kitty O’Meara that were shared by Deepak Chopra and wonder if we will “make new choices, create new ways to live and heal the Earth fully.” As I toss and turn, my mind slingshots, wondering if we will be beaten and broken in the wallet when this is over or if we will be refreshed and renewed. Only time will tell.
Sweet Pea wakes and I take her outside and stand on the deck in my robe looking out at the moonlit landscape. It is truly breathtaking. And I am grateful to be in Granby during these unprecedented times.
Lisa Piccardo is a member of the Grand County Community of Writers who lives in Granby.