Last night we Californians got word that the whole state is in “lockdown”– allowed to leave our homes only for “essential” activities: food, supplies, medicine, doctor, work. All “non-essential” businesses ordered closed.

I must say I am peculiarly well-formed for the cloister and in fact have lived like this for months at a time over the years, at various writers’ residencies, monasteries, cabins, hermitages and retreat houses.

Though sans pandemic, which does put a slightly different complexion on things.

My upstairs neighbor just returned home from grocery shopping at Sprouts and Target and said food except for milk and eggs is plentiful. Tons of produce.

Also, thank the Lord, we are still allowed to take walks in our neighborhood, either alone or with our families if we have a family.

Nonetheless I might purchase a jump rope. Important to attend to physical well-being, as well as spiritual, mental and emotional, during these uncertain times.

Never have I been so grateful for my plant-filled balcony and garden.

A downstairs neighbor just reported that this is supposed to last at least six months. Then he announced he’s going to build a chicken coop in the back yard.

The good news is I’m not alone or isolated here.

I attended Mass last Monday (the last time it appears for a while–or possibly, who knows, ever!). Funny, four days seems like a lifetime ago.

Kneeling in my pew after taking the Eucharist, I reflected that no matter how sick, contagious, diseased, bleeding, festering, mutilated or broken we may be–Christ never distances himself from us.

He enters into the closest possible solidarity with us. As Flannery O’Connor said, “You can’t be any poorer than dead.”

That’s a message of hope–and of love.

Here’s the link to a piece of mine on the connection between the 40 days of a quarantine and the 40 days of Lent that appeared on the website of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine.

And here’s a video I made this week, to remind myself that life springs eternal.

10 Replies to “CLOISTERED”

  1. Regina Pavone says: Reply

    Hi Heather, I’ve never commented before though I have been reading all your work faithfully since your very first appearances in Magnificat. I live right outside of Philadelphia and we are living through the same restrictions as everyone else. I just wanted to thank you for all you’ve written and especially today’s post. I love your garden! I have always enjoyed your photos but the video tour was a treat. I’m also a person who craves quiet and solitude, though being told that I need to stay home has been surprisingly unsettling. Solitude is now not a choice but is being imposed on me and it makes a difference. So thank you for the article about St. Elizabeth Seton. It’s given me food for meditation. Take care, he well and God bless, Regina.

  2. Ingrid Christensen says: Reply

    What a wonderful garden!! Thank you !

  3. Patrick Dooling says: Reply

    Thanks, Heather: I needed that and your garden, so lovingly tended, awakens me to all the gardens in Monterey. We continue to be relentlessly spoiled!

  4. Rose Coogan says: Reply

    Wow Heather! You have quite the green thumb 🙂 The yellow rose was a special gift. Thank you my lovely friend. xo Rose

  5. Heather, I wanted to thank you for your writings. I sent you an email back on the 11th of this month…I suspect it might have gotten tagged as spam. Anyway, I discovered your writings via a very circuitous route, and I am so grateful that I did. Thank you for sharing your gift with those of us who hunger for profound and sweet words.

  6. Tom Duffy says: Reply

    thank you for this heather and MUCH LOVE from michael jefferson and me

  7. Mary Beth says: Reply

    Dear Heather,
    Be still my heart! What another gift you have as gardener, and such a gift to receive from you this way. Just what I needed to see before bedtime tonight. I am thankful to be able to spend *this* particular Lent in your (virtual, but spiritual) company. Yes, we are all in this together. Love, prayers, and a peaceful heart and mind during this time of trial. XO

  8. Hello Heather, I am writing from Cumbria in the uk. I just want to say how much I love your writing. Awesome! Absolutely awesome!!
    I am on shirt of flame , diary if st Theresa for the third time !!!
    You so rock!
    Wish I could meet you.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Bless you, Chris!! St. Therese is so with us…I have a few people who check in from the UK–greetings to you and all in Cumbria–together in the Eucharist!

  9. Heather, I really enjoy your writing and I’m so happy that I now can read your blogs. Please keep up the good work … we need you!! God bless you.

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