I spent last week on an Outward Bound expedition in the Minnesota Boundary Waters. We had no phones or communication with the outside world. (Well, except for a satellite phone for emergencies.) We knew that Super Tuesday was happening and that COVID-19 was spreading, but we had no specifics. Instead we expended our mental energy on much more essential things: staying warm, finding enough firewood to cook our dinner, boring a hole through the ice so we would have water, making sure our sled dogs were healthy and fed and getting along, making sure all our gear was in working order, keeping our feet under us on the ice, steering the sleds so they didn’t crash into trees, checking up on each other to make sure everyone was well and no one was left behind.
Last week, I was surrounded by wilderness, flat white lakes and hills covered in evergreen trees. It was the most pure and pristine landscape I have ever seen. Except for when the dogs got excited, it was absolutely silent. Late Thursday afternoon, as the sun was setting, we skied across one last frozen lake. The wind kicked up the top layer of snow and blew it across the ice. It shimmered. It looked magical. We stopped and leaned on our ski poles and stared, mesmerized.
This week, I am in quarantine, in my apartment, where everything feels too cluttered and cramped and there is too much noise and there is too much bad news coming through my phone, because of course when I got it back, I couldn’t look away.
But I also have my memories from the ice and the humans and dogs I traveled with out there. I also have a few pictures. And here I have the delightful company of my own dog, Joe, who just climbed up onto my chair to give me a hug. There is this video of quarantined Italian neighbors singing together through their open windows. All these thing give me hope.
What is giving you hope right now?