The ‘quarantimes’ category

No More Masks: All the Feelings at Once

June 4th, 2021

Our local mask mandate ended today. So many mixed emotions, but I am happy to report that fear is not one of them. Our daily average of new cases in southern Vermont is less than one, and although our children aren’t yet vaccinated, I feel optimistic that the numbers are really good.

I do feel strangely sad about it, though. As an introvert, of course, I feel anxious about losing my secretly beloved face shield. Not sure if I remember how to emote with my mouth anymore, plus, now I’ll have to make sure I don’t have coffee breath and black things in my teeth. 

I also feel slightly mournful that in over a year of having only the top half of my face visible in public, I never got it together to start wearing eye makeup again, nor did I figure out how to make hoop earrings work with a mask.

I feel hopeful, of course. We made it. Those of us who made it. We made it, together and also divided, and here we are. On the other side. Shattered, traumatized, resilient, and alive.

I also feel calm. There’s a fine line between calm and exhausted, of course. 

Remember last year when all of those atelieres and Etsy artisans pivoted to making masks? Suddenly, masks were for sale in every convenience store, hippie co-op, gas station, you name it. Masks hung from the tree in our town square, individually packaged in plastic bags and free for the taking. My mom made us countless masks from various increasingly sophisticated patterns. I bought masks from local makers and random Instagram accounts. Here, for your enjoyment, is a partial portrait of the masks in or house right now — the ones that are not in my car, the wash, or my daughters’ school backpacks:


What is going to happen to all these masks? Will we just shove them in our glove compartments and sock drawers, petrified we might need them again? Will we find an innovative way to transition masks into, say, training bras? Or chihuahua carriers? Will we see quilts made of masks hanging in the atriums of art galleries fifty years from now, under a banner explaining the “pandemic-era mask craze”? 

To be honest, I didn’t wake up thinking “I will never wear a mask again.” In fact, I wore one this morning, when I dropped my kids at school. They are still wearing masks at school, of course, and will probably wear them all summer to camp. I may keep wearing my mask to the Co-op and other indoor venues. I haven’t decided yet.

I am used to wearing a mask. It feels normal now. All my angst, all the drama about the mask wearing… it’s all dissipated over the last year. Truthfully, the masks were never the problem. They were just a symbol, weren’t they?

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What I’m reading:

Just finished the incredible novel Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips. 

Yes, this is a thing: Walter the friendly grouse becomes man’s backyard companion — but we miss you, Groodles!

If you read one thing today, make it this beautiful, heart wrenching story of a life: Goodbye to a Yankee Farmer, the Ghost of Exit 8

And a shout-out to children’s book author Lois Ehlert, who is hands-down Eliza’s favorite. She died this week in her 80s after producing such beloved collaged classics (in my house, anyway) as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Planting a Rainbow.

What I’m listening to:

I used to love Ani Di Franco. I haven’t listened to Ani Di Franco in years. I probably wouldn’t have even bothered to listen to her new album, if a friend did not recommend it. And I am so glad I did.

What I’m eating:

So much takeout, because our new kitchen is tiny and I can’t find time to unpack. 


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