Quarantine Academy—Dear Lovely Students:

A mash up of 90-plus letters to my students in emails and a daily blog during COVID-19 school closures

Well, this is it, it is Tuesday, and we are not going to school.
This is the first day. 

Surreal headlines and government announcements. Puzzles
selling out, as everyone hunkers down. 

I’ve been reading cancelation policies.
My friend is walking his goats. The white pygmy’s name is Dante. 

Do something for your head, body, and your heart.
Every day. Or hour. As needed. 

Yesterday, we opened the doors and let the spring air into the house.
My son is making a bow. It keeps breaking. 

We keep driving and listening to Lord of the Rings.
It helps pass the time. 

The world is empty. Haggen’s shelves empty. No TP,
those out, in masks, plastic shields up, maps

on the floor to keep everyone apart.
Camus argued happiness is a moral obligation. 

What will you do with your time? Shunryu Suzuki
said, “Each of you is perfect the way you are . . . and

you can use a little improvement.” Everyone on the trails
is ear-budded against the world. 

I keep taking pictures of clouds. Yesterday we went into a field.
Yesterday we found an empty beach. Cold. A grey whale

blew water into the air beside an oil tanker. Good to hear
from all of you, in this time of gathering-the-self,

of learning in new ways, of singing show-tunes in cars,
of five minute planks, of discovering what an hour is,

of winning who can hold the banana the longest, 
of baking, of jokes: “I learned a new word . . . plagiarism!”

of friends in parking lots, still in cars—of distance.



Image: Chaplin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons