“Hope is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all. . .”
~ Emily Dickinson, from “Hope is the Thing with Feathers”

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
Waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~ Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things

The big questions on everyone’s minds these days are when? And how? It looks as though they will not be answered for at least a while. While Gov. Scott has extended the quarantine to May 15, that is very possibly not going to be the final word on the topic. Is Vermont really looking at a re-opening day in May? Or June? Or sometime after that? No one knows for sure at the moment.

Another big question is whether the re-opening date will be different for a place like the Senior Center with our older population. In the meanwhile, staying at home is the best idea, and if that is not possible, then wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing are essential.

Once the quarantine is lifted, the inclination to hug people whom you haven’t seen for a while is probably going to be hard to resist. Still, it looks like social distancing will continue for quite some time. Perhaps someone will devise some funny – but useful – way to signal a hug at a distance. Of course, it would not feel the same.

AND – Don’t neglect these ways to stay safe:
About that 6-foot distance: It’s as long as a twin-sized bed; two yardsticks; longer than a refrigerator lying on the floor; a foot longer than a clawfoot bathtub; the height of a newborn giraffe – which has also just fallen 6 feet out of its mother – on its head. Just imagine a baby giraffe lying on a twin bed between you and that other person.

About handwashing: You know the recommendation to recite the alphabet twice – or sing happy birthday twice – making sure that you wash for 20 seconds. Have you noticed that, at first, those 20 seconds seemed like a really long time? But no more – suddenly, now that you have more time, it doesn’t seem that long at all!
Avoiding touching your face: Did anyone have any idea how much face touching goes on? This realization has been truly shocking. It’s all about becoming mindful of what you are doing in order to change the habit. The current motivation certainly helps.

Zooming
So, here at the Senior Center, we’ve taken the bag of lemons and made a lot of lemonade: CSC has taken the plunge and shifted into a new online Zoom reality for as long as the quarantine continues. Already, there is an impressive collection of courses – and there may be a few more to come. One of the advantages of being online is that in addition to the regular students, some of the snowbirds who have not made it back to Vermont yet are talking part from FL, NM and CA – and who knows where else.

Let’s hear a BIG round of virtual applause for all the instructors, Susan Hyde (technical advisor and webmaster), and all the participants who have taken a leap and entered a Brave New World of online courses/classes. And, what was that saying about old dogs?

Current Zoom classes
Gentle Yoga (Mon./11 a.m.),
French Conversation Circle – Intermed. (Mon./2:30 p.m.)
Pilates Plus (Tues./9 a.m.),
Essentrics on Wed. (8:30 a.m.),
Mindfulness Meditation (Wed./1:30 p.m.),
Pilates (Thurs./8:30 a.m.)
Essentrics on Fri. (9:30 a.m.),
Writing Your Life Story (Fri./11:30-1, starts 4/24-5/22),
Italian Language & Culture (Fri./1:30 starts 4/17-5/22).

How to register
Please send an email with your name, address, phone number, and name of the course(s) you want to take. You will receive a confirmation that you are enrolled.

Reduced fees
For Zoom classes, the fees for courses are suggested at $5 per class—however, classes are open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. It is not about money—it is all about community and caring in this time of uncertainty.

Prepayment is not required, and we are happy to operate on the honor system. We would love it if you tally your class participation and just send a check at the end of the month; note the class on the check. Checks should be made out to CSC and mailed to PO Box 207, Charlotte, VT 05445.

If you have any questions, please email them. Do visit the Senior Center website  for more information and course descriptions.

The Senior Center’s mission is to serve those 50 and up. Residents from other communities are always welcome. There are no membership fees. Feel free to leave a message on the Center number anytime: (802) 425-6345; voicemail is checked daily.

Be careful. Stay well. But mostly, be kind.

__________
Charlotte Senior Center
(802) 425-6345