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Reflections on a Pandemic: Denya LeVine

Bob Pliskin
Denya LeVine

Over the past few weeks we reached out across our region to people from all walks of life. We asked them to share their thoughts as they navigate through the pandemic.

Here is one of the essays featured on our Voices of the Pandemic episode of The Point.



My name is Denya LeVine, and I live in Wellfleet. I’ve been a Cape Codder for 40 years, a full time musician for 20 years - a fiddler, singer and ukulele player. My work is entertaining at nursing homes and adult day centers, making music with preschool kids, playing in bands. That was until March 15, 2020. Soon after, I started writing random notes.

March 25, 10 days at home: 

I’m used to working, playing music day and night [or talking about it or doing publicity or trying to get more gigs] and living the rest of my life in between.

With no work, and living alone, I find myself on the phone with friends and family 3 times as much as before. In the past 10 days I’ve had long conversations with 25 people, from around the corner and across the country, including friends in the Czech Republic & New Zealand.

I know I am blessed with my life. I fear so much for others getting the virus, losing their jobs, being vulnerable to abusive partners or family members.

I go walking on nice days, and I’ve been watching the sunset from my car every evening.  Sometimes with friends in the next car and the windows rolled down so we can talk. In person.

April 4, 20 days at home

I am settling in. I cleaned the house yesterday.

I’ve always grown sprouts, growing my own salad indoors; alfalfa and radish, mung beans in jars on my kitchen counter. Today my friend Jenn and I planted pea shoots and sunflower seeds. These sit by a sunny window. It’s an experiment. We could be preparing for the apocalypse.

Tonight I had a good idea. Julie Charland, my music partner, and I can perform a Zoom concert. Rather than playing as a duo, which doesn’t work on Zoom, we could play as 2 soloists back to back, or side to side, but not in the same room.

April 5

Masks are now seen on many people. Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since March 15. I’m learning to help myself and others by way of sending healing energy, similar to Reiki. Some of my friends, and some of their siblings, are very anxious, and I am helping them from afar. This is one thing I can do to support others.

April 13th, nearly a month in

What I miss most of all are the Irish/old time traditional music sessions I co-host every month. I miss my musician friends, the camaraderie of sharing a regular jam with beginners and professionals playing together for the pure joy of it.

And I miss my friends at Cape Abilities, an adult day center for people with developmental disabilities, where we’ve been making music together for 15 years.

I like to think I’ll be okay for money. I have some small savings, and I’ve applied for relief grants and am receiving a modest monthly check already. Friends have offered to help me if I need food or rent, and I feel blessed by their offers of support. As a gig worker, I’ll soon be able to apply for unemployment. Yippee!

I don’t worry about myself or my people, but I am constantly thinking about the people who were holding on by a thread before this. Millions of them in this country alone. Billions around the world. What will happen to them?

April 16, a month in

A quote from Keith Lockhart, conductor of The Boston Pops, on being out of work: “It’s hard to know who I am.”

Me: “Work gives meaning to life.”

April 20th, nearly 5 weeks at home

Such bad and sad news today. 55 died of the virus in 1 Brooklyn nursing home. Gov. Baker said right now we are in the middle of the surge.  2/3 of the residents of a local nursing home tested positive. It’s likely I know some of these people.

April 22,  5 weeks

This cataclysmic event is moving me to make changes in my life that I’ve put on hold.

You may contact me through my website. I can offer help with sprouting and share information on the upcoming Zoom concert.

What keeps me engaged in these challenging times? I don’t have a TV.  WCAI and WOMR, where I’ve been a volunteer DJ for 34 years, are my connection to the world beyond my yard. The other link is The Provincetown Independent, the new weekly Outer Cape newspaper.

What keep me hopeful? Spring flowers in vases, all yellow: daffodils, tulips, forsythia.

What keeps me going? Communicating with family and friends, meditating, jogging on my mini trampoline, eating healthy food, and a strong belief in the afterlife.