make us ever mindful

Ordinarily by late May we'd be picking strawberries, leaving green pulp cartons full to the brim on neighborhood porches.

Now we are home. Now I am an elastic waisted pants enthusiast, tempted to Lysol every bird that lands in our yard. Tempted to perseverate on the infinitesimal difference between the solid business of living and the lurch that could end everything. The virus and the violence and the whole bewildering world.
Time blurs, a long strange ribbon of distraction and attention. Our days are measured in the smallest increments, the first hugs of morning, breakfast, fresh air. Minor things have become infinitely watchable, the way the boys peel a clementine, legs splayed and bellies extravagant. Giant bubbles float above the backyard, peonies tease open and share their perfume, a crimson hooded woodpecker drums a one note symphony on repeat. Back in the day the urge was to keep going, but freed from the oppressiveness of any trajectory I remember to notice.

In addition to the general sense of emergency there is perhaps a second and simultaneous pandemic of frayed nerves and exhaustion. Now is not the time to look away.


and so the days go

They give me hugs and I give them treats.


We're OK!

But I love you does not feel the same when you have to shout it from far away...


what we don't know

The pool is not going to open, the bird is going to die, we cannot have dinner with your grandparents.
We tell the boys the truth, even if it cries us all to sleep.

We don't know why the bird couldn't fly, we don't know if you'll get to go back to school, we don't know how long our family will need to honor the safety of physical distance, loving folks from far away like their lives depend on it.

We are working our way through the idea of indefinite, just get through the morning, just get through Monday.
We are working our way through what we already have too, food, art supplies, plans. There's a concierge's desk in the dining room, room numbers taped to the doors. Hank has set up a hotel, with a breakfast buffet, an exercise facility and the most cheerful luggage handler you've ever met. There is joy in the improvisation, the simplification, the focus.

I am feeling hopeful, but just underneath that still gnawed at by despair.
Tucker walked around the entire perimeter of the pond twice, hoping for a bite, before he surrendered bait to the birds.
Is the promise of some small possibility even harsher than any certainty?

Anxiety reverberates, a pebble in the pond, and I don't want that to be what the boys feel. We visit uncrowded outdoor spaces, wade in the creek, wave at the grandparents from six feet. We take walks and talk about what we do know, notice shapes in the clouds and nitrile gloves in the street next to thousands of pastel teardrops.


brothers and books

both splendid companions


May day, mayday

Hank dances with his early morning shadow along the wall where I sit folding laundry.
The sun comes up and the squirrels fight, earth and its creatures carrying on as usual. The boys bicker too, apparently vying for the coveted title of loudest kid in Columbus.
I fill bowls with applesauce and warm meat for buns, wipe counters and load dishes, wishing Andy weren't at work, wishing I could hug my mom.
Wishing I could hug my daughter.
The boys line the couch, bent like sherpherds crooks, small electronic devices in hand, rectangles of neglect. I don't feel guilt about it, but I don't feel good about it either.
Another deep cup of coffee, another deep breath. Gratitude for what we do have, and prayers for enough to go around.
We play cards. The boys play the piano and play outside, imagining fairies and fashioning hatchets, forging ahead mostly unaffected.
We rush in when it begins to rain, scrub dirt from fingers and toes, start a movie and share ice cream.
Waiting in the long, lonely work of right now, we pirouette to find new ways and trust that life will reconstitute on the other side.


bless these boys

Hank's quiet ways of creating, near constant, remind me that art helps us endure and enjoy life.
Tolliver helps me remember that it is not our job to hide our humanity.
And I can hardly look at Tucker without thinking about the way he's attached himself to hope since day one.


to notice

The days feel like a hidden pictures game, our job to seek the butterfly, the wildflower, the surprise donuts, the spring frogs. The first bean sprout, the falcon nest, the muddy feet, the rainbow sky, they are all ours to notice.