at the end

Right now, in Hank's world, everything is a rainbow.
And every request begins with At the end of the coronavirus can we...?



I was not born with an imagination big enough to encompass this page in history.

Our family is intimately familiar with disease and sanitation and prayers for a cure, with the way everything can feel all at once urgent and sacred and scary and dear.
It's not that we held the belief that all of our hard things had already happened, not that it came as any surprise how past crises can tap on new tender places. But a nation of neighbors showing up by staying home, of humans washing hands and stocking shelves and searching for solutions, collectively doing the good, hard work of saving each other from each other?

Some small part of it feels reminiscent, busying ourselves with survival and with searching for every small beauty.

Some days a moment slides by when the world of our house is not oriented toward the pandemic. The boys have been out of school for more than a month, missing a fair chunk of time for the trip even before buildings were closed.
Learning is still open though, in the kitchen, at the piano and in the woods out back. We've had lessons on arranging flowers and flying kites and folding laundry and calculating area and collecting rays of sun. I've never been more proud of how wild and intelligent and resilient the boys are.

One young man said yesterday that he was beginning to understand how sickening it can be to spend time with the same people every day. Yes, I thought as I hugged him. He strapped on his helmet and took off on his bike and returned in a cheerier mood.
Sickening, he'd said. But what if this is all the time we have? I let myself wonder for a split second.
It is their job to stay children and my job to stay calm.

Andy has always showered as soon as he comes home from work, no scrubs in the house ever. But his systems have shifted toward even more precaution. He only carries car keys and his badge, no wallet and no work bag, and washes all of it in the mudroom each evening. My sister is on the frontline too, and after a million conversations about whether Nora could be a conduit between our homes, she comes here when necessary. There are two things I can say about this:
1. Babies in the house have a way of making life land back in the present.
2. The confidence I lack in most government officials, I have in every single healthcare worker I know.

Despite quarantine and uncertainty, happiness has not been suspended for the foreseeable future. There are letters coming in the mail and lego projects happening in the basement. There are never-ending crafts and cushion forts and creative games built of boredom. There is a more consistent family read aloud routine, everyone snuggled in the living room after dark, listening to My Side of the Mountain. I look around at all that we have and my heart nearly disregards its rib cage.

We are doing the days here, kitchen dancing and drawing with chalk and watching Disney, one minute and then the next.
We are safe and healthy, perhaps short of thriving but no one has a fever and we have plenty of food and we are fine.
How are the people in your house, and in your heart?


An offering

Here is that stick of butter plus a clutch of daffodils the boys picked from the yard.
Here is a piano concert from our living room to the front steps where you're allowed to stand
and a small pile of cloth masks assembled with fingers crossed.
I wish we could do more.
Here is a link to something your kids might like to see
and a pinch more grace you ought to inject straight into yourself.
Here is permission to let go of productivity and perfection, if you're looking for that
and also a bottle of wine because we're not able to hug.
I can hold your anxiety for a moment though?
Here is a smile from across the street, my heart arcing toward yours in shared uncertainty.
Here is some chocolate from our pantry, the only bandaid I know
and a rainbow for your window and a new recipe for hope.



After a fairly adventurous week in Oahu we headed to Maui, with reservations at a resort along Kaanapali beach and plans to mostly play in the sand and swim in the pools.
While lounging sounded ideal in theory, the boys don't do much sitting around, so we arranged several small excursions. Our hotel had resident penguins, and lots of other birds. One morning we went on a wildlife walk with a keeper, feeding and making friends with the fowl.
On a different day we visited old Lahaina and toured with the Pacific Whale Foundation. We watched, up close and completely fascinated, a pod of mothers and babies breach and blow, slapping their chins and flippers in what felt like a real show.

We spent one entire day, from sun up to sun down, with Valley Isle Excursions on the Road to Hana. The boys had really been looking forward to visiting the rainforest. We saw the seven pools at Ohe'o gulch, the remote back side of Haleakala, and the Pua'a Ka'a waterfall. We enjoyed a picnic lunch at a tropical flower farm, explored lava tube caves at Wai'anapanapa's black sand beach, and learned directly from homesteaders about the Kahikinui reforestation project.

We walked to Whaler's Village several times for meals, and enjoyed mai tais at Monekypod. Most days the boys made friends at the hotel pool before heading to the beach to build sand castles and snorkel with sea turtles.
Home again for a couple of weeks it appears the only thing that has not been cancelled here is laundry. Our luck in the timing of this trip, though, is not lost on us. We are so glad we could go, and so grateful to be safe at home now.