John is in the woods near my house chopping fallen trees. His forceful grunts echo up the ravine as he slams down on logs over and over and over again.
My nephew paces the floor when he visits, around and around and around.
My son plays video games from the moment he wakes up, clicking, tapping, and exclaiming.
Repetitive physical movements have a calming effect that can reduce our fear and anxiety over things we can’t control. Like the uncertainty and chaos of the entire past 20 months.
Writer Annie Dillard observed that “how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”
If that’s the case, I need to examine how I spend my days.
During quarantine, I walked outside twice a day and wrote short stories, poetry, and personal essays. After Zoom classes, I played my recorder behind closed doors. In warm weather, I rowed on the Anacostia and Potomac rivers. I built a fire in the fire pit and sat outside with friends and neighbors.
These routines got me through the worst of the pandemic.
I’m holding on to them like a prayer to get me into next year, because who knows what 2022 will bring?