on earth

How on earth did we forget that every single day is a life or death proposition, always has been?
We learn this lesson and then learn it again and still we let ourselves go back to living like we don't know, let ourselves go back to being irritated by small matters, every magnified annoyance. Let ourselves become immersed in the illusion of urgency, the supposed importance of everything before us, so that we miss the spun chrysalis, the single blade of grass.
We dropped off dinner at the neighbors, their oldest in the hospital again for far too many days. Another reminder. We paused long enough to play with the chickens in their front yard and to remember for a moment what it felt like to find a meal on the porch, to remember the proposition.

And then we took the boys fishing.  No one caught anything this time, but it felt good to appreciate a small pond without thinking ahead to the next thing.
One of the infinite strangenesses of quarantine is the way the aperture of our attention has shifted. Things we may have missed last month, places we'd previously ignored, become outstanding. Become, in fact, everything.
The central adventure of our day turned out to be watching ducks in the water behind an empty building on campus. Tucker checked under rocks for insects and gazed at clouds and hunted for frogs. Hank climbed trees and made dandelion wishes, and we talked about leaving some flowers for the bees. Tolliver carried a rod around the entire perimeter, casting at every spot, and collected our family's trash before we left. These things constituted the boys' main interaction with the outside world.
I've almost forgotten how we used to fill our time.

Forced to keep the front door shut we seem to have found a hole in the sky, time to add so many life-giving things to most days - longer walks, more art, added read aloud, extra sleep.
Tiny specks on a pale blue dot, we watch the world around us shrink and grow at once, hoping the time for checking in does not run out.


rht said...

Thank you for that!

Poppy John said...

Jenni Baby,
Apparently the fish bought into "social distancing". (?)