I received the incredible opportunity to see my adult daughter in person. For the first time in almost a year! This involved crossing the international border into Canada, and climbing a mountain of required permits and paperwork. I would also be required to quarantine for two weeks before I could actually see her.

I made a quarantine reservation at a resort that was closed for the season. I would be the only one there. I was looking forward to two weeks of concentrated editing for my third book. I would be able to take frequent breaks with long walks by the lake and in the woods. Lovely.

I got to the border and was told that I could not quarantine at that location, because there would be no courier service out there to transport my mandatory covid tests during the stay. The border staff was busy. I had no internet access to fix my problem. I had minutes to decide what to do—accept something else or turn back. I chose to continue on the path of opportunity, to go see my daughter. And that is how I ended up, not on a lake, but in a cramped basement apartment in a big city, with almost no windows, for two long weeks.

When I first arrived I felt closed in, confined, trapped. The word “prison” entered my mental state. I realized that I would need to change my frame of reference if I was going to survive this with my sanity. A more neutral word would be “held.” You can be held against your will, or you can be held in someone’s arms. The Thesaurus helped me find more useful words: seclusion, retreat, sequestering.

There are actually some plusses here. I have been forced into a container with my self, where my own behavior is more evident. I am removed from all daily concerns, like running around and meeting deadlines. I can stop multi-tasking. I have endless time on my hands and can just do one thing at a time. Ramadan starts next week and this will be a good chance to try praying/meditating five times a day.

This really is the same situation that I signed up for originally, the two weeks, just without the lake and the woods. Haha. I’m not allowed to leave the property for any reason. The fines are huge and include actual prison time. That means no walking, even around the neighborhood, when I normally walk 2-5 miles every day. I’m going to have to get more creative. Like run 50 laps around the small backyard. Like do qigong for an hour instead of 20 minutes. Lay on the ground outside.

Got any other ideas??