I’d been putting off thinking about it, knowing the news was coming but not ready for it, yet. But two announcements yesterday. Shelter in place extended through the end of May for the Bay Area. And our family’s beloved Summer Camp, Lair of the Golden Bear, postponed until 2021. It’s only a formality for the rest of the summer camp infrastructure to announce their cancellations, one by one. Any dream of a “normal” summer is done.

Of course I support the plan; we’ll do whatever is needed to keep people safe, slow or delay the spread of illness. Our predicament is strange: so lucky, so fortunate to have our lives and our health. But we’ve lost all normalcy, we stay in and hear terrible news about illness and death, at a safe remove from events.

My work has been somewhat frantic, or I guess I have been frantic in attending to it, a busy period with kids at home too. But news of these cancellations comes at a time of a small lull; a handful of projects done, the new ones not yet in hand. This is the rhythm of working for oneself, and these “quiet” times are when the other work has to get done: bills, paperwork, advertising, planning, catching up. If not for the small quiet I’d never realize the bits and bobs that need attention.

Feeling so, so sad at the loss of our family’s summer traditions, devastated actually, it strikes me that grief is something that requires free time. It’s a sort of vital luxury, giving feelings their due. In having that space we are incredibly fortunate, with many in survival mode, coping with urgent and grave things. But I will try not to feel guilty about this, because someone’s got to have the feelings. Ask my family, for whom I was the designated emoter.

We all will have them, eventually, in some way or another. And perhaps a part of our jobs now is being chipper and upbeat for those going through so much. But just as those who can should donate money to keep important things going forward, for those of us with the gift of some time on our hands, I think we owe it to collective humanity to have a good cry for all that’s being lost, large and small. It’s my hope, and my belief, that our grief will help all beings.