When the stay-at-home requirement was given, I was pretty sure we were covered. We had enough toilet paper to last weeks. Well, and that never would have been my first thought anyway. What is that well-known Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization, from the bottom up. Physiological means, as I understand it, that you are a functioning person. Then you need safety -- water, food, shelter, warmth. I thought we had all of those pretty well covered. Toilet paper was incidental. Because we had water and soap, that was not any basic or foundational need. Even with Covid-19 water and soap were basic. Nothing was said about toilet paper.
Shelter we have. We are retired -- we worked for 50 years to make sure that was secured. And in the face of relative poverty, sickness, and earthquakes, we had survived. I knew how to make soup from almost anything. And we have enough books to last us years and years and years. Tea supplies? Well stocked. But -- then there were some extras that we had become accustomed to as time went by. Wine, for instance. And perhaps a small supply of chocolate. Well -- but even without those we could still survive. Until we ran out.
Then I did a little experimenting with online ordering. I found that we could get all the alcohol we ever needed -- and no delivery charge if we ordered enough! We ordered enough. And chocolate could be found, but there was a fee -- we paid it.
We have a wonderful local restaurant that provides locally-sourced dishes -- and they expanded to include delivery of groceries they obligingly delivered as well.
Things we couldn't get there were available from many sources -- although it took some time and persistence to figure out how. And some patience with 'substitutions' when what we ordered wasn't available. No problem.
Our son-in-law was still making cautious trips to Costco and bringing us whatever else we required. No problem. And our son delivered some fabulous home-made marmalade thank goodness. We had run out of that!
But after some days of worrying about the cost and the pragmatics of all the process to adequately feed just two people, I realized that what I most needed was something quite readily available.
I needed music. Music has been a part of my life all of my life. And my tastes are pretty bizarre -- ranging from 1940's swing to Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Elgar, Mahler, Pachelbel, and Oscar Peterson. I know. Don't judge. But for some reason I had forgotten music in the pressure of needing the latest news, the latest research, the latest scandal of science denial and lack of hard facts.
My basic needs were not being met. Without music I knew I could not be physiologically sound. I'm not sure Maslow would have agreed. But I agreed with myself.
So I filled the house with music once again. It was grand. It put me in a different space, which I certainly needed to maintain my physiology. My blood pressure came down. A bit. I cooked, I sewed a few masks, I poked around in the garden and found artichokes had provided a few delicious repasts. The wildflowers benefited from the unexpected rain in March. We benefited from them. Some of them graced our table -- who knew nasturtiums made good cut flowers? I do now!
Something was still missing. Well, of course a lot was missing. The drive-by visits from our kids and grandkids were wonderfully restorative. And online chats and phone calls and emails were swiftly replacing face to face, heart to heart visits. So what was it?
Then on Mother's Day my dearest husband quietly cooked breakfast and set up a table with flowers in our pergola in the backyard. The omelet was perfect -- the Prosecco delicious. But the best thing of all was the little wood fire he built in our chiminea. It was then I realized how much comfort that simple act has given me throughout all of my life. The stacking of the wood and kindling, the care to ignite and care for that little flame that becomes bright glowing warmth, has always been symbolic of a comfort I can't even begin to express.
I guess that fits in the hierarchy of those basic needs, but for me it also fits into a deep spiritual comfort, and I am so glad to have been reminded that I must, indeed, continue to kindle the flame.
I hope you are finding that your needs are met, wherever you are. Stay safe. Stay warm. Make soup. Light a fire, or a candle. We all need more light.