Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The point of reentry: On venturing into the world again

It was a fern that helped me get past my reentry fears, and a couple of neighbors. Our family hasn't been to a store for two and a half months now—food, supplies, whatever have been delivered. We live in New Jersey and our state still hasn't fully reopened, although it's in the works as the number of coronavirus cases has declined. I've been dreading going out to a store. 

Last week, I walked by my friend Emily's house and she had a pretty fern hanging on her porch. Usually by this time of the year, our porch is decked out with flowers and greenery, but it's been bare and kind of sad-looking—to me, anyway. Suddenly, I ached for a fern. Even more, I ached to go out and get one. The next day, a neighbor walked by with his dog and we got to talking. He told me he'd picked up some nice plants at a nursery located in a wildlife refuge about 20 minutes away. Hmmm. Could I? Should I? 

What cinched things was seeing my neighbor Kirsten, who's an EMT. I asked if she thought it would be OK to venture to an outdoor garden center. She gave me the (green) thumbs up, and explained her M.O. for going out to stores: Just one credit card in her pocket, no wallet. Phone in her jeans pocket, not to be touched. Take your gloves off and toss them before you get into the car. (Her volunteer squad made this really helpful video about safely removing gloves.) Disinfect your car key with a wipe. 

I decided it would be safest to be at the nursery as soon as it opened. And so, I was one of the first people there Friday morning at 7 a.m., gloves and N95 mask on. (My father-in-law had construction done at his home and he'd given us a few.) It was just me and some seniors roaming around the great greenhouse outdoors. 

I always find trips to nurseries relaxing because: pretty things. Also, I usually don't take the kids, which automatically makes any outing more chill. This time, though, I felt something I'd never felt before: freedom.

I got a nice fern  put into a basket I already had. I treated myself to a new planter with flowers. I got a pot of begonias for the table on our deck. I waited on line a good ten feet apart from the next person. And I drove back home feeling relieved that everything had gone OK, and totally happy.

Greenhouse: Flickr/kenfromMD

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