Keeping us all at home under a mood of “lockdown,” and with no end date in sight, the coronavirus threat threatens to do much more — that is, turn us into pajama-wearing couch zombies with a permanent ring of Cheetos around our lips.
Not so for Lady Virginia.
Even if I wasn’t a somewhat dressy type person, perfectly happy to never wear leggings or flip flops and never use icky plastic-covered plastic forks even at a picnic, I’d still be drawn to beauty, elegance, and a bit of formality.
And right now that’s proving to be an aesthetic lifeline in the face of a world that feels like it’s imploding all around us.
Which Way is Up?
Though I’ve worked from home for almost 25 years, the COVID shutdown has made even my at-home life feel different. After all, I’m used to popping out during the week whenever I want to shop or browse the library or visit my dear friend’s sewing shop or meet one of my girlfriends for coffee or dinner.
I routinely go on sourcing runs to find the fabulous vintage goods that populate my Etsy shop.
Since my hubby works from home too, we’re no strangers to taking off for the midweek winery jaunt at the tail end of a work day. Or we book a nearby getaway for a few days whether it’s a weekend or a work day.
All of which characterized both life and work with freedom, opportunity, variety.
Oh, and beauty.
The beauty of the Virginia landscape. The beauty of visiting 18th-century Virginia homes. The beauty of rural vistas from the windows of a barn-wood winery with a roaring fireplace taking the edge off. The beauty of aisles and aisles of antique and vintage goods to marvel over at an out-of-the way antique haunt. The simple beauty of a local daily walk.
But not so much now.
In isolation, with a vastly curtailed universe to explore, and living on a very small city lot with no yard, diversion and creativity aren’t a commodity to seek out there somewhere. Now we need to solely create our own beauty and our own ceremony right here at home.
And yet it doesn’t take much to make things unique and special and beautiful.
That’s why this morning when I made our breakfast as usual, I insisted that my hubby break out the beeswax candles and light them up.
I asked for some Fritz Kreisler on the stereo for a kind of hopeful, mournful, 1930s cinematic vibe.
I prepared the larger of the French presses so that we’d have more coffee to draw from for a longer breakfast ritual and hence longer conversation about…whatever.
I think we discussed changes in attitudes about death during the Civil War that are similar to coronavirus outcomes, his own father’s death to coronavirus last week, some of our client work, his upcoming City Council election, a beautiful morning walk, my latest fabric finds, and how much we liked the candles burning.
It’s okay to slow down because…these days, there’s nowhere to go. But even if there were, creating a home life of beauty and retreat shouldn’t be a rarity, but rather an ongoing goal.
It’s life after all, why not make it wonderful, beautiful, treasured?
Stopping for meals that are centered, ceremonious, meandering, and beautiful should be the rule rather than the exception whenever possible. And at this moment, since we’re all inside, they can be.
To relieve the tension and improve the situation, a little bit of beauty would go a long way right now. I encourage you to create that beauty in your life. And then sit back and bask in it.
— Lady Virginia