My husband and I were unable to sleep in our bedroom the other night due to a minor infestation of flying pests. We are staying at a lake in Michigan, and I had stashed a couple of outdoor seat cushions in the closet while failing to inspect them for hitchhikers.
Every spring here, a certain type of fly hatches en masse only to mate, lay eggs, and die – all within a matter of a few days. They rise up in a frenzy when we stomp through their nesting grounds in the grass, and they cling to outdoor furniture, boats, docks, and yes, seat cushions. Their brief existence, along with daily news reports of coronavirus deaths, is reminding me of how fragile and finite life is.
My husband and I both have elderly mothers who are at extremely high risk of dying if they come into contact with the virus. We are both over 60 and thus considered in the high risk group ourselves. So we have been taking social distancing and other precautions very seriously, as have our children, I’m happy to say.
And yet, the fleeting nature of our lives should give us pause. We are not guaranteed the next hour, let alone the next year. It’s important to cherish the time we have, even if that time now seems circumscribed by events beyond our control.
With five of us sharing space here, nerves occasionally fray and sometimes snap. We are able to laugh and enjoy ourselves one day but feel gloom or discontent the next. In some ways, that situation is not unique to being quarantined. It’s part of the restlessness within the human soul.
I’m happy to say that my husband and I were able to enjoy a good night’s sleep in our own bed last night. Having spent the better (or worse!) part of the night before catching and squishing flies, I am grateful for the ability to sleep unmolested by flying or creeping things. Yet I feel for the little black critters and their oh-so-brief existences. And I appreciate their ability to remind me of the preciousness of my own.