On Preciousness

I listen to rainfall and hear its tracks, as it meets the metal of my balcony and makes its way down gutters and onto pavement. It’s been raining since, at the very least, the dead early hours of the morning. Tempted to create or work, I remind myself it’s four o’clock on a Sunday morning.

On Tuesday, it was my friend’s birthday and I was over at her apartment downstairs. I had seen her a few days prior when we were both outdoors exercising. She said she had forgotten how happy she feels when the weather is pleasant (in Minnesota, that’s anything above 40), and that when the trees bloom this time of year it’s “precious.” I noted how delightful an adjective she’d chosen.

It’s my first spring. My first time watching flowers bloom on trees. The first time I noticed the trees blooming, the tiny buds I thought resembled the slimy bulbs that I’d find on seaweed on Miami Beach. I’ve been fascinated by the bloom. I stop and smell the flowers.

My friend’s description of the blooming trees as precious got me thinking about how this time in quarantine feels precious. The morning downpour is unsuspecting. It’s cradling. I brew coffee and play a “Sunday Morning Dance Party” playlist I curated. I jump on my mini trampoline to get my blood flowing; I stretch; I dance. My body asks for these things.

Without quite thinking about it, I open the refrigerator and pull out red and yellow pepper, artichoke, carrots, and onion. I start chopping. It’s 6am. I put aside the chopped rainbow. The day prior I started to read Love in the Time of Cholera. I lay on my couch to read. My mother always told me that this Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel captured the experience of my family nearly 100 years ago, in provincial El Salvador, where my grandmother is from.

On Friday, I rearranged my furniture. I’d been living in what looked like a catalogue, where form was prioritized over function, but that was not working for me. I had commissioned a friend to paint a portrait of my living room a couple weeks prior, so the old space is preserved now in the physical form of a painting. This reconfiguration of space in my living room opened up a new world – one where I am comfortable, and my place and ability to take up space are more important than the furniture.

With open space now, I can lay more freely. A yoga bolster I angle diagonally so that the underside of the highest point is atop a block. I slightly recline and my hearts space opens. Neck and back supported, I can stretch my limbs in all directions. I say I’ll never sit on a couch or chair again. Before me are notebooks and colored pencils. I doodle Lexiland, where mushrooms sit atop colorful mountains that meet the sea, and clouds are smiling. I draw Rachel’s golden retriever Kaia next.

In taking the time to draw whatever comes to mind, without looking at a clock or phone for hours, I return to my childhood self. All I ever wanted as a child was to feel calm and for other people around me to be happy. In adulthood, the latter took precedent, unfortunately. In quarantine, I’ve rectified that truth. I hear the rain that will fall all day, close my eyes, and I’m reminded of home. Most times water has fallen from the sky in Minnesota, it’s been snow. Just the sound of rain reminds me of the tropics, and how my grandfather loved the rain.

Chopping, brewing, reading, coloring – these are the acts I wish to prioritize always, not just in quarantine. Time in quarantine has been precious to me in rediscovering what brings me catharsis. This reclamation of space and of hobbies shows me how capable we are in redirecting our path and finding things that truly bring us peace; how capable we are in understanding and appreciating something as precious.

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