Cari Shields

To Do List

While I Shelter At Home

Celebrate my sixty-fifth birthday
            Apply for Medicare  
                        the whole alphabet of parts
            Take mild insult that regarding COVID-19,
                        I could be described as
                        “over sixty with pre-existing conditions”
            Use that definition to be more patient with myself

Figure out how to set up the lighting and laptop in my study
      so I look professional online
            Hide the clutter
            Lean in close to the screen as I counsel people
                  who had enough to contend with
                        before this virus got into the mix

Teach an online grad course
            Listen to the challenges of students as they rearrange their lives
            Arrange for an extension on their final due date

Spend a surprising amount of time ordering groceries and preparing meals
            Make my own granola and yogurt
            Discover new recipes for using up the quinoa in the pantry
            Order more quinoa

Grieve the loss of time with family
            Cancel two trips to see the grandchildren
            Watch the latest video of the twins at least ten times in a row
            Explain to my father once again
                  why I cannot come and see him in the nursing home

Stay in touch with friends
            Worry about them when they are sick
            Rejoice when they recover

Develop a love-hate relationship with everything virtual
            Attend virtual meetings, classes, family gatherings,
                  church and happy-hours
            Decide it’s like eating half a meal:
                        better than nothing
                        never enough

Spend more time with my husband
            Walk the dogs with him if it’s not too cold or rainy or early or late
            Remind him too frequently to wash his hands
                        listen to him sigh “I know”
            Forgive more easily
            Be thankful that he is not virtual

Order a good set of binoculars
            Celebrate the fact that I live at the edge of a small wetland
                  during Spring migration
            Observe birds through my window
            Identify a Wilson’s Snipe, a Solitary Sandpiper,
                  and White-Throated Sparrows
            Admire a pair of Great Blue Herons
                  as they take off in unison and soar over the pond
            Let my heart follow a couple of Ruby-Crowned Kinglets
                  who swiftly flit from branch to branch
                        and tree to tree
                              definitely not sheltering at home

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker from my Window

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