top of page

Abecedary of a Pandemic

A is for apocalypse — an uncovering. As we create alternative approaches to actions it is as if we are planting an acorn amidst Armageddon.

B is for busy small hands brick building and bus routes that bring box lunches as we begin schooling in our home bonding amid the blankets in our big cozy bed bending our understanding of the day to day.

C is for creative care crafted by the conditions of the Coronavirus contagion. When contact is contaminated we connect remotely to form community.

D is for doctors directly in contact with the disease. It was they who discovered its deadly nature and directed us to disinfect daily.

E is for emergency has been declared. Eager to slow the progression, we engage in social distancing measures as the eminent threat slowly takes hold of elders and loved ones in each state. We are encountering an unprecedented experience.

Photo by Felice Salmon

F is for facing adversity fearlessly with friendship and forgiveness, finding a way forward with focus and flowers.

G is for gratitude for growth in small humans and gardens that won’t succumb to viremia. Green golden glow of daffodils gathering gives us a feeling of the good earth’s generosity.

H is for the hope we have in our hearts for health and healing by hand washing, homeschooling, and holding loved ones in hard times. Healthcare workers have heavy loads and homeschooling parents carry hard questions.

I is for infected individuals ignorant of their symptoms that unknowingly are inhabited by the virus. We don’t know what’s inside us. We long for insight or information. Some sort of intention instead of ignorance.

J is for joining forces. Joint effort brings joy. Yet the jarring, jolting reality of a difficult journey remains.

Photo by Felice Salmon

K is for kindness kindling hope for humanity. Kids and kites can’t be stopped by contagion — our kinship is found among kind words, actions, thoughts.

L is for the love that longs to lift others, but lays low to level the curve of COVID-19. Here we are learning to let life be lived in long-distance layers and light up when language launches laughter.

M is for maintaining our composure. Maintaining 6 feet of social distance while managing to connect. We are managing stress. Managing conflict. Managing routines. Managing to get by. We are making do with less. Making food. Making memories. Making it one day at a time.

N is for neighbors behaving as a network. Needs arise and others notice, send notes, navigate this new chapter in our nation. We see the true nature of nurture and now know Novel Coronavirus cannot become an impenetrable night.

O is for orienting ourselves toward others and creating openness for our collective good when we would otherwise feel up-ended, cut off, closed.

P is for prayers for peace. Push to be present to each person in our presence. Perfect the perfect peanut butter pickle sandwich and put peaches on the side. “Pass the plate, please.” “Are there more peach preserves?” “Pace yourself.” These words passed among the people at the lunch table as we preserve normalcy in the midst of a pandemic. Planning, playing, participating at home.

Photo by Felice Salmon, Art by Eva Salmon

Q is for the quiet of traffic quelled, school and work quit. We try to quiet ourselves and find quiet determination. We will never quit trying to find a way forward.

R is for resilience, resourcefulness, remembrance, and respect. Reminded each day how resilient children and communities can be, we sense a resurrection of resourcefulness and remember those essential workers — healthcare, grocery, sanitation — with resounding gratitude.

S is for the stability we seek while we are sending support and searching for solace. In the secret stillness, stretch in to a spirit of surrender and ask for strength, looking for something to make sense of it all. It’s okay to sigh, to say you’re not okay, to see the world differently, to stop hurrying and allow space.

T is for time turning, the way things are taken away, and the truth of all transformation through tumult. Trying our best today, tomorrow to stop totaling up the dead and tallying the casualties, but the clock ticks on.

U is for the unprecedented upheaval of it all. Understory exposed, unity untied, unexpected emergence of our underbelly. Under pressure trying to understand, we bury ourselves underneath. Underground, we are searching for understanding and seeking to go up again and back toward us.

Photo by Felice Salmon

V is for the victory gardens, vegetables, village we belong to even when we seem to be on a solitary voyage of quarantine. Value in very small and unexpected places, Voices of visitors that bring a varied perspective, a view from the porch that brings a variety of colors, sights, sounds, smells, and sensations we can vanish in to and violets that remind us — spring still came.

W is for the way we wake, work, walk, watch with wide eyes as the weather changes, worldwide pandemic spreads, warning takes shape. We wait. Then, wait and wait. Women wail, we collectively weep for the ones lost. Where’s the way forward when the world is awash in the worst, weirdest, wildest? We want to wander, feel warmth, and wash away the germs, but instead, we dwell with one another and wait.

X is for the uneXpected eXperiences of living through a pandemic that won’t eXercise restraint. We eXpress our lament, find ourselves eXhausted and use eXtreme caution because we now see, we are all ineXtricably linked. In the totally ineXplicable there is eXtra grace.

Y is for the yearning and yielding as we yoke ourselves in unity to staying healthy at home. Yeast to bake bread, yoga to move our bodies, yarn to craft beauty, yard to connect back to nature.

Z is for the zoom meeting in which we gather to muse and manage. Zooming with classmates, grandparents with grandkids. Zeroing in on a zone of safe passage, we reach a zenith of connectivity with a zoom-based piano recital, uniting family that zigzag the globe.

Photo by Felice Salmon

This blog was originally published on in collaboration with Maternal Journal.


Header Photo by Felice Salmon

bottom of page