While I was brushing enough fur off Jeter to have potentially cloned him, I thought about how there are years when he doesn’t necessarily receive the same amount of care and attention as he has during this pandemic.

Earlier this week, he suffered an unfortunate gastric situation which demanded he be taken out with some frequency. (Who knew I could phrase things so delicately?!?). I’m not going to lie – it was annoying. Two nights in a row he woke me up to take him outside and I already don’t sleep well. My afternoon nap saved me on both of those days, believe me.

Anyway, as the hair flew off him and created dust bunnies with other errant tufts, I recognized that I was tending to him. My increased time at home has provided me with an opportunity to take better care of him. It made me wonder, “What else am I tending while isolating at home?”


My lupine are looking great!


Well, my yard and garden have both received more than typical attention this spring. The rear yard has gotten a bit away from me in recent weeks, but the teeny front garden and parking strip plantings both look pretty good. I’ve battled with lily eating red beetles for the last few years, but I’m firmly dominating in 2020. Being home to monitor the growth of the flowers, and spraying immediately with whatever was recommended at Hewitt’s, has provided me with something beautiful to see each time I exit or enter my home.

There are some weird things I like to do around the house seasonally. It’s a not- always-realized goal but, I try to wash/clean the drapes, linens, shower curtain, and area rugs and pack them away until fall. I like darker curtains in summer to block the sun and my wood floors look pretty and clean uncovered. Air conditioning units need to be carried up from the cellar and installed in windows and cold weather clothing goes away to make room for beach towels. My deck and front porch both need pots filled with annuals and some of the larger house plants move outdoors for the season.  These tasks can occupy a number of my weekends in a regular year. All of this is now done.

I’ve been getting a lot of exercise – not running as much as I have enjoyed in the past, but walks, bike rides, hikes and short runs have added a lot to my quality of the life. Yoga, via Zoom or a video library from the studio where I’m a member, also provides 4 or 5 hours of strength (mental and physical) building a week. Being healthy is a condition no one should take for granted, especially not now.

But, it’s not, or it shouldn’t be, just about tending to what’s on the outside. Truth be told, most of those accomplishments are probably just a subconscious need to feel in control. Once all that “real” stuff is taken care of, though, there’s little excuse for continuing to avoid tending to something more challenging, like one’s internal needs.

Directing care and attention to how we’re individually feeling about our present circumstances is an area of tending of which we all need to be cognizant.  How are you really doing during this frightening and uncertain time? Are you more inclined to tend or to pretend when it comes to your own emotional well being?

There is no normal right now and while that’s scary, it can also have some positive connotations. Being home and relatively sheltered from others and the expectations placed upon us all by our families, careers, relationships, is kind of liberating. Personally, I’m relishing the opportunity to define myself in a way that is as devoid of comparison to others as I’ve ever known.


Being alone provides an opportunity to reflect and consider what one may want to change. Maybe it’s a chance to really dig deep and think about where you’re at with your personal life, career, and plans for the future. Are you, pandemic aside, truly happy? Is there groundwork you can lay to move forward to an emotionally richer and more satisfying life? Perhaps devoting a little time to listen to, and engage with, your own inner voice will help make this life pause one that is valuable and productive in ways that you never imagined. It’s not just your garden that can be beautiful.




  1. Dave

    I was furloughed from my job and am old enough to collect Social Security so I decided to retire and am glad I did.

    • Silvia Lilly

      Dave – That’s fantastic and I wish you many years of health and living off the clock. Congratulations!


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