All last week I was suffering mild respiratory symptoms… Sore throat, stuffy and hoarse, mild muscle aches. Of course one immediately considers the worst case, that somehow despite being careful I had contracted COVID-19.
Not out of the realm of possibility, after a long summer of almost no cases our island has had a rash of infections over the last few weeks including a few deaths. The virus is clearly here and in the community.
I got swabbed on Saturday, and after a weekend of wondering I finally got the results on Weds evening.
Oddly enough I found the result while on the phone with my parents. I had told them about the symptoms and testing a few days earlier and they were calling back to hear the results. While I had not gotten an email notifying me of results, I checked the lab web portal anyway while on the phone. Two simple words… Not Detected.
All clear… This time.
While that was a relief to me and my parents they passed on family news.. My brother has tested positive and is now quarantined for a few weeks. While he has shown no symptoms and is fine, I am glad to hear he is taking the diagnoses seriously.
Eating habits in our communities have drastically changed. The most obvious evidence of this is the consistently bare shelves in the local supermarket.
Going out to do our weekly grocery shopping I wander the isles and make note of empty store shelves that were never empty before. There is a theme in those empty shelves, a pattern that reveals that how we eat has changed in substantial ways.
One of the first things to disappear from our local grocery were what I consider comfort foods… Boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese, tins of biscuit dough, and that Hawaiian favorite SPAM. In those early days of stay at home orders people bought foods that were familiar from childhood, offering a reassurance of normalcy, at least in the kitchen.
Social media is currently full of advice on what to do while stuck at home waiting out a pandemic. I find I need no advice… A dark sky and a telescope? No problem.
Awake at 4am this morning I pulled the Astrola from the garage and observed until the dawn lit the sky.
Once the evening clouds dissipated I again pulled out the telescope and observed for another two hours this evening.
Following the advice of staying at home I have been observing alone from our driveway. This weekend would have been our normal club dark-of-the-moon star party at Kaʻohe, getting together with other observers. Obviously this was cancelled.
This period of social isolation is measured in pages of notes on stars and nebulae, measured in the light-years I cross while peering into the universe.