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What We're Looking Forward To As We Lose Things To Look Forward To

Ben Depp
Businesses are boarded up on Frenchman Street, Tuesday afternoon. New Orleans, Louisiana. April 14, 2020.

Last week, we asked readers of our newsletter what they're looking forward to in a time when it feels difficult to look forward to anything.

A friend recently helped me identify a thing I was (am) struggling with as life is canceled and postponed. It's not just the fact of the cancelations and postponements. It's something a little bigger — and akin to the very human fear of the unknown. It's that we're losing things to look forward to. So I'm trying to adjust my outlook on that. It might fill me with anxiety to try to look forward to my wedding this fall, but I can, very safely, look forward to: - pretending to be Andy Dufresne in the rain this weekend; - an enormous stalk on my bird of paradise plant unfurling, gloriously; - the to-go margarita I intend to order tomorrow; - listening to this Fiona Apple record 100000000 more times; - being married, no matter what happens to the big party.

They delivered — with reminiscences of family, longing for a snoball, a poem about the crows, and more. 

Here they are, lightly edited for length and clarity. 

From Leslie Roussel:

I am looking forward to each sunrise, each cool, sunny morning when I can take a walk with my husband and our dog, looking for new wildflowers (a.k.a “weeds”) growing along the road.

I am looking forward to the next message from a friend or family member, saying they are doing well, just getting a little bored. Some of us are inventing new projects using recycled items to make fun art. Creativity blooms!

I am still looking forward to an email or message from a grandchild to see if we, their grandparents, are okay. We have heard from their parents about how family members are doing. Grandkids are too busy.

I look forward to gathering again with friends at church, then sharing lunch at Panera. Or gathering with family members. A family reunion sounds like a great idea. 

So you see there is a lot to look forward to. Even a trip to the grocery store would, at this point, be an event!

From Alvin DuVernay III:

I look forward to observing Terra Mater's wonders away from my front porch:

While having my second cup and reading the paper this morning.

I hear this lovely resonance out front and amble out to investigate.

Can you dig it? 500 Crows in my Live Oak carrying on as Crows are want to do.

I pour a third cup. This one spiked with C'lur and I revel in the din.

A couple neighbors came out as well to see "what's the buzz..."

They retreated back indoors seemingly unimpressed or even annoyed.

Oddly this caused me to smile even bigger.

Happy tears even emerged. Though sympathetic ones would be better.

They heard a cacophony. Anxious and irritating.

I heard bird song. Crystalline and glorious.

Fourth cup, more C'lur.

A couple Crows flew down to the ground with grave animation.

I stood for better perspective and saw the subject of their concern and chorus.

A comrade Crow with a broken wing. Hopping. Helpless.

But not alone. Alas, not alone.

A different tear now. Overwhelmed with sorrow and delight.

Is that even possible?

From Peter Ricchiuti:

A visit to Plum Street Sno-Ball.

From Carolyn Clausing:

One good thing is that I feel less pressure to get things done. Oh, wait perhaps that is not such a good thing.

I miss my lists of things to do with my art guilds and book clubs that I could check off as they were finished. However, I now have new lists, change the sheets, mop floors, wash dishes and clothes, dust the china cabinet, make masks for COVID-19, pull weeds, etc. I miss my cleaning lady. But, housework is not nearly as much fun.

There is one terrifically good thing that has happened. I am getting closer to my husband of 58 years. I love my time with him, a kiss every morning, the discussion of news events over the morning papers. We get three papers so we have a lot to discuss. We get the Morning Advocate, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. We are a right and left family with different views, but we still love each other. We have lunch together every day. Sometimes we have a glass of wine on our glider under the big Water Oak in the yard. We take walks together and talk some more. We swim in the pool and are enjoying the warm spring weather.

I miss my family, we used to have dinner together once a week. They do call to check on us and the calls are great. I need to figure out how to use one of the apps that let you see the people you are talking to.

Want more of this?

Sign up for our New Orleans Public Radio newsletter. We'll send you the week's news every Friday, plus a little guide to things to do and maybe a question to answer or two. (We promise not to keep rhyming.)

Ashley Dean is the digital news editor for New Orleans Public Radio. Before coming to New Orleans, she was the editor of Denverite, a digital news startup now under the Colorado Public Radio umbrella. Prior to that she was a copy editor and features writer at the Denver Post, and before that, a music reporter for the Colorado Daily. She graduated from Columbia University with a master's degree in journalism and from Northeastern University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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