I find it hard to concentrate or do any serious writing during this pandemic period. I can’t stop watching the news, knowing that it adds to my anxiety but I can’t seem to turn off the TV or social media. I can’t do many things that used to give me a sense of calm – walk on the beach, hike in Mammoth or travel. I busy myself with reading, learning Mandarin, yoga and lots of Zoom meetings. Last week, I turned to quilting again.
This latest quilt uses fabrics I bought in Lawrence, Kansas at the beginning of March when the virus was a looming threat but did not yet impede our ability to travel. I loved the combination of colors that matched some old fabric I had. The ladies at the quilt shop were pleased with my choices and assured me it would be a lovely quilt. I used a quilt pattern where squares were cut at different angles then the fabrics were shuffled and reassembled. But as I sewed together the reshuffled squares, the entire quilt top looked like a jumble of fabrics with no rhyme or reason. It looked messy and chaotic, not what I had envisioned when I started this quilt.
I went back to the drawing board and decided to put in borders with black fabric between the squares. The borders made the quilt top look more symmetrical and peaceful, as if the black spaces gave it room to breathe. I stepped back to look at the entire quilt top from a distance and it looked more like a coherent whole. It gave me a sense of order out of disorder.
This quilt process is a reflection of my current state of mind in this time of coronavirus – it’s like a crazy quilt of fabrics and a riot of colors in a muddle. It wasn’t until I was able to pause and step back before I could envision a bigger picture. Maybe this pandemic is doing the same for all of us around the globe, telling us to pause, breathe, step back and envision a new normal.
It is hard as there are so many things I can’t control in this time of uncertainty. I can’t visit the beach, I can’t have lunch with friends, I can’t travel to visit my sons. But there are things that I can control. I can do my part by staying home to stop the spread of the virus. I can wake each day and feel grateful for my health and my wonderful neighbors. I can still read and write and quilt. And I can hope that eventually, the world will come together again into a coherent whole.