Wednesday, May 20, 2020

I Am Jumbled (DeLong)

I am jumbled. In March, I could not read a novel, only magazines and my mail. I spent three weeks in pajamas since I didn’t feel well. No fever, cough, or trouble breathing – just marked fatigue, mild headache, low appetite, and roaming, short-lived pains. What was it? I told people about my symptoms, suspected Covid-19, and was surprised by their subdued reactions. 

When in April, my usual health returned, I thought about all the waiting projects I could complete while sheltered at home. I had a chapbook of river poems to review, a nonfiction book to revise for the third time, my parents’ photos to organize, and enough yarn to knit shawls for all the women in my family. And yet after showering, doing housework, and eating more often, I rarely accomplished more than one task a day. The phone/video calls with family and friends were sometimes awkward as neither side had much to say that hadn’t already been said. But I could read novels again. 

Now in May, when not watching every police murder mystery on TV (especially the Icelandic ones) and reading, reading, reading, I am grateful to the four pileated woodpeckers who showed up together at the bird feeders, the black snake who coiled its length on a snag’s toadstool ledge, and one bald eagle following the Grand River visible from our house – sights that pierce my malaise.  

Unable to fall asleep last night (not a new thing for me), I realized that my grandparents would have been young adults during the 1918 pandemic. If only I could talk with them now. I also became aware that the only thing I desire is to survive this pandemic – but I don’t know that yet. Forgive me, all you who have died. I am jumbled still.

Margie DeLong is a retired nurse practitioner and the author of Grand Observations, a nonfiction work about the Grand River in northeast Ohio.


  1. Powerful. "I am jumbled still," is probably my mantra.
    This is an amazing line, and I want to know more: "I also became aware that the only thing I desire is to survive this pandemic-but I don't know that yet."

  2. I am thinking that I nor anyone is safe from this virus and I may still die. The thought doesn't overwhelm my days, just reminds me that I am one vulnerable human like recognizing one's insignificance when viewing the stars.