In the wild elasticity of time since Coronavirus shadows began gathering, although it feels like an age since we canceled plans for the South Pacific – it’s barely been a week.

Since February we’ve been in prepare / wait-and-see mode. The worst-case scenario, in early days, was rerouting to Tahiti; later, waiting out a delayed departure. In terms of seasonal weather, we could comfortably leave from Mexico as late as middle or late May; lots of time to decide! In hindsight, this rationalization earmarked my first stage of grieving for the loss of those plans: denial of the reality that was trying to get our attention, lights flashing.

When I wrote about provisioning for a pandemic, my heart of hearts wanted to believe that the deep stores we were packing onto Totem would be carrying us across the water to French Polynesia and beyond. That the methodology dovetailed with an approach anyone can use to think through stocking up for pandemic isolation was a tidy convenience. But the beliefs which had for a week been flitting in the edges of consciousness coalesced into reluctant acceptance that day. The telling moment of the mental shift was when my shopping buddy, Karri, asked offered to share a six-pack (hey, it’s Costco) of two pound bags of masa (corn flour for tortillas)…and I declined. We can’t get that in Fiji, but it’s on every tienda / super-mini shelf in Mexico. I didn’t need it.

Sign posted in Fakarava, early March. photo: Nathalie Gorin

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