For this "D" post, my first thought was "Ducks," because the flock of Whistling Ducks that makes its home on our little pond has entertained and kept us company throughout the pandemic.
But even though the ducks are delightful, I landed on the word "distance" instead.
For almost a year now, we have been asked to keep our distance from each other. The last time I taught a yoga class in the studio with students present was on Thursday, March 19, 2020. A week later, on the 25th, I taught my first online class from the studio, with no students in the room. Soon after, I began teaching my classes online from home, and that's how it has been ever since.
This is a photo of me ending the last class I taught at the studio on April 2, 2020 - online and alone, except for the owner, Jennifer, out of sight, at a distance, and Anna out at the front desk.
At first, our hearts were very tender, as we worried about the future of our studio and our yoga sangha. I had tears when we greeted each other at the start of class - tiny faces on a computer screen, connecting from a distance. And again, at the end, when we said goodby. Overnight, so much had changed. We were suddenly dispersed, each to our homes, many hundreds, even thousands, of miles apart.
But then, some interesting things happened. We continued to show up in front of our computers to teach, and students continued to show up in front of theirs to practice. Snowbirds, who normally would not have been with us in summer, came to our online classes - many every day, often more than once a day.
One student took classes from Taiwan - when she came to my 7pm ET Restorative class, for her, the next day was dawning on the other side of the world.
My dear friend, Deirdre, over in Bath, England, whom I haven't seen in person since 2012, made it to class too, despite some technology challenges on both our ends.
With the passage of a bit of time, many of us discovered that we very much enjoy taking classes from the comfort of our homes! I joked that I used to have to be at the studio, all fixed up and ready to go by 9:15 for my 10 a.m. class, but in the new situation, I could have wet hair and still be in jammies at 9:15, but all ready to teach by 9:45.
My sister in Massachusetts took my class all summer. I called her immediately after each one, because, for once, we knew we'd be available, with time to talk! We live at a distance, but we have never talked as often or felt closer.
I've talked with my brother more often too, and "seen" several dear friends more often via Zoom than I would see them in person in any given year.
The word distance is a constant drumbeat now with our reference to social-distancing. Being at a distance is hard, even heart-wrenching, for many who long to be in the physical presence of loved ones. But thank heavens for the internet and Zoom and all the other platforms that have allowed us to be together, to see each other's faces and hear each other's voices.
I do miss being with friends, family, students, and my fellow teachers. But I do not feel now, that there is "distance" between us. In many ways, distance has brought us closer. When we talk, it is without distraction or the time constraint that comes from busy-ness. We listen better, interrupt less, and are much more present with each other from a distance than in person, and that is an interesting thing to think about as the world, does, eventually re-open.
Now, even though distance became the topic for my post, our ducks really are entertaining, so here is a short clip of ducks doing their duck thing on our pond.