by Winking Owl

The other evening, I put my camera on a tripod, pointed it at the sky and shot eight minutes of video. From it came the image above. Gulls circling in the blue left bright trails, each coloured according to what time they flew over. Such creative endeavours are what you get from a cooped-up human. It’s not so bad.
Oh yes, and I have also learned the complete sequence of one hundred eight movements of the Tai Chi Chuan Long Form. I started learning it in 2011, when Sensei suggested that Tai Chi would help my Aikido. Later I got side-tracked by two shorter forms, and the Sword form, and the Fan form. Last October, Sensei suggested that I return to the 108 form, so I did, but mostly I’ve learned it since the pandemic hit and the dojo closed. Without my teacher to follow along to, I had to learn it now, or never. If I let it slide and forgot it, it would be such a pain to re-learn again. \

Everyone is adapting to our new circumstances in their own way. Here are some others' reports.

RL.. In all this craziness, I take great comfort in knowing that we are all in this together: a great global unity and a sense of belonging with everyone, everywhere.
I am reading a lot - one of my favourite hobbies since I was a child. For a scientist, the coronavirus, the Covid19 disease and all the intertwined issues in this pandemic are fascinating to study. Ironically, learning about the uncertainty, and how to cope with it, is helping to fill the voids.
I spend some time most days, going for walks, and gardening. I visit my favourite white pines by the Ottawa River - old friends. The promise of home harvest is something to look forward to!

CF.. Our family has always been a tightly knit threesome. My son is a bit worried as he has graduated from University, but they cancelled convocation and he has lost his summer job. This causes some family stress, but we are working through it.
Guess what! The Visa bill is half its normal size! No shopping! For an accountant who loves to save, this is big!
I miss my Aikido a great deal. It is hard to just stop cold turkey. It may be quite a while before we can again practice with contact. I miss my friends and I miss the training. I can't change this situation. So, I make the best of things and keep on trucking!

IN.. Aren’t we lucky to have Tai Chi? Isn’t it amazing how the practice reflects how we really are doing? If my mind is wobbly, my balance is too! Doing a few sets settles me when I need it. As one day rolls into another I find that I am OK alone, with time for self-reflection, for considering what is really important in life. I miss HUGS! I celebrated my birthday, and mother’s day, with family in my GARAGE so we could keep our distance. I go out every day for nordic walking. Such a lovely time of the year to be out. Not long now and the trees will be green, time to plant flowers too! Can’t wait. Little things like that seem so much bigger now.

SY.. I wake up early. I eat meals at regular times. I walk and greet my neighbours. I clean the house. I check on my friends. I listen to podcasts that make me laugh. I enjoy spending time out in the yard. I exercise. I relax.

FL.. The amount of time I spent in front of a screen has increased dramatically. I am getting used to connecting electronically with friends and family. I’ve been taking more walks and breathing fresh air every day. More people are spending time outside, so I get to meet neighbours I never knew I had!
No commuting means more free time. Time to refine my coffee making! Time to declutter and do deeper spring cleaning. Time to listen to the birds. Time to meditate.
I can get used to that! What is more challenging is to keep up regular physical training. I look forward to going back to the dojo! Meanwhile I have signed up for some great online Tai Chi lessons.

YK.. “Stay Home” actually means “Stay in the kitchen” to me. I feel like I’m living in my kitchen to feed my husband and two growing teenage children. Their school has been closed since the middle of March. It was a big change for them, suddenly not being able to meet their friends. Not knowing when they can do that again is tough. It is a scary time. I decided to support and comfort my family with tasty food. I spend a lot of time planning what to make. The other day I cooked Japanese, so today maybe Italian or Thai? My son has grown over fifteen centimeters in the past year, and his stomach seems not to have a bottom. I always underestimate his appetite. I feel he would be happy with whatever I prepare.

MC.. Do you remember wishing each other a Happy New Year, Health, Success?. And now, well, l’homme propose, et Dieu dispose, as they say…
Our new objectives are: making do with less, exercising our creativity, appreciating the simple things in life, and plain old survival. This year has turned into a time for contemplation.
We reflect on different things as we age. This is a chance for me to see afresh my place in the great scheme, as it unfolds in sloooow motion…
I observe the courtship of two cardinals. I befriend a five-inch cucumber seedling, whose first tendril literally jumps at my finger, taking it for a support. I water my plants; I garden next to the chickadees who flit around our very red birdhouse; I play with my little grandchildren, at the beginning of their lives. From where I stand, it is all so beautiful and perfect and moving.
As Much as Possible from as Little as Possible. Let this be my ethos in all things now.

JT.. My family has wondered why I would often spend vacations training in uncomfortable conditions at odd hours? Cold mornings, sore joints, blistered hands, extra chores. Why would I choose to do that?
"This" is the reason. This time of change, and how to cope. I find that these months of disruption call on the discipline I've learned over the years. I rise early, I work, I care for the people I'm with and the space that we share. I'm less busy, still I get more done.

SP.. I worry about my friends and colleagues, about my daughter and her boyfriend who have returned to work, my Aikido partners, my hair dresser. I have been visiting my Mum who’s health is very fragile. We both feel that the companionship outweighs the risks. This pandemic has forced us to make difficult choices.
I am so glad we have a good public health care system, and politicians who listen to the advice of their experts. As a former civil servant, this makes me so grateful to be Canadian.
Despite my best intentions, the only exercise I am getting is walking the dogs twice a day and the occasional solitary Tai Chi practice. On the plus side, I feel less stress because I am not rushing off to appointments and commitments.

CC.. Enjoying nature, breathing the fresh air and getting some sun, are good for my spirit. Light green leaves unfurling, Birds flitting around. A fresh breeze in my face. The noise of children playing outside. The scent of magnolias. Spring.
Something else that lifts my spirit, is to move, walk, exercise. But, I am not very good at disciplining myself to it. So Aikido practice was important to me. My partners supported the healthy habit. Now I am on my own. So I remind myself of how good I will feel after. I pay attention to my body relaxing as I walk. I breathe deeply. I notice how my mood changes as I move. When I return, I always feel better.

The essence of Aikido is
Flexibility Overcoming Stiffness
Bend, like the Willow