contemplating parades at 3 a.m.

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I don’t know why I wake up at 3, turn over to fall back to sleep only to be further roused.  Then, thoughts invade, those thoughts that hold hands and dance in a circle around my brain.  Not bad thoughts, not depressing or sad thoughts, not even anxious thoughts, but dammed determined thoughts that shake my insides awake until I throw off covers, pee, make myself a cup of hot milk and rearrange the pillows to half-sit in bed and tap away. Would it be the same if there was a partner beside me?  I muse that I could have turned over and found the crook in some arm and shoulder, but honestly, there were many nights waking up and carefully leaving the bed so as not to disturb my sleeping love.  It has been long enough that I paint sublime pictures of sleeping next to someone through an entire night of looping thoughts, but not so long as to deny the truth of night time rousings.

There will be an audience-free Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.  Reading that saddens me.  Only slightly but noticeably.  And I have to laugh at myself.  When was the last time I took any notice of the parade?

But when I was a child . . . 

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not a poem

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I am not a poet. When I was young and when I was younger than I am now, I did not even have the patience to read poetry. Too few word, too many thoughts left in breaths, too many questions in spare phrases, too much for me to unwrap. I wanted prose that left no nuance unexamined and unexplained in long wordy paragraphs. I thought I would read poetry when I was old.

And so, now I must be old. I have favorite poets. I even know a few. I cannot do what they do, but I admire their work the way I admire what painters and sculptors do. I think I understand their craft, to some small extent, because every so often, words come out of me when I sit to write, that edge closer to what poets do than what I usually scribble down.

And that happened this morning.

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the best laid schemes . . .

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I had plans today.  And we all know what happens to plans.  And sometimes it is more than hard to figure out just which clause of the Serenity Prayer should be in play right now. Or as Cheshire says, “2020 laughs at your plans.”

I predicted that we would not get to an outcome for the presidential election last night or this morning; however, I find that a definitive landslide for the Democrats was a wish lodged deep in my heart.  

I fell asleep listening to election returns in bed on my laptop just before midnight and woke up a few hours later in time to hear the NPR host talking about trump’s victory speech.  I groaned, closed the laptop, turned over and went back to sleep.  I had at least two unnerving dreams during which friends who I haven’t seen in a very long time appeared.  I hugged them hard.

Gosh, I needed that.

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election agita

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election day 2016

From 2016: “After watching the debates and talking about the election in school, Julia is very much into it.  She fished out an old Obama button from some treasure trove and is wearing it along with two new Hillary buttons.  Her assignment for Tuesday is to color a map as results come in.  She told me that she is going to color the whole thing blue before any results come in.  Magical thinking to be sure, but she’s got the right idea.”

2020: Julia can vote!  And vote we did at the kitchen table on Saturday after which we drove down to the town hall and dropped our votes in the assigned box.  There was an older man who did it before we did and we applauded him.  The young woman who was behind us applauded us.  We are all in this together.

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resilience

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Last Sunday, I was asked to talk about resilience at church. This is what I said. 

I’d like to start with . . .  Jane Hirshfield’s poem, 

Optimism.

More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs — all this resinous, unretractable earth.

I wanted to be a pillow, but if there is any lesson in the last 6 months, it is cultivating the tenacity of trees. 

Talking resilience in medias res, I had no idea where to begin and what to tell. 

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marigolds and zinnias

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Last week’s centerpiece–flowers and herbs from the garden.

It has been an okay time—this week or two.  Julia has settled into school.  A few hard days now and again, a few challenges with the iPad and social media.  Those challenges have been ongoing for more than a year and, even though I am so tired of them, I admit that they have calmed from gale force wind storms to the occasional drizzle.  School is mostly left to school.  I continue to be grateful that she is a high needs learner who is in the school building 5 days a week and that most of the school work is done either during the 90 minute class periods or support resource/support time.  At home, she continues to draw every day, she practices her cello, we do almost weekly baking that is now packed up in individual bags and sent to school.  Thank you’s to teachers and staff—right now, it feels like the only way to teach Julia gratitude.  Julia does chores or what I call Family Work—still needing reminders but usually only once or twice on any given day.  She is getting better about marking the allowance chart when she does qualifying activities and work.  All these things—bringing baked stuff into school, family work, daily cello and drawing—are what she can learn during this time.  She has academic classes in school but I don’t expect much from them.  Not that teachers and staff are not working their butts off—they are— but I don’t know how much biology or art history are going to go into Julia brain this year.  I do not see her as “available” for learning.

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tidying

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It turned out a somewhat instructional and unusual weekend.  

Sunday morning, just before church, Julia’s test came back negative.  The doc who tested her called on Monday morning to make sure all was well.  She did mention that I should keep an eye on the slightly enlarged tonsils.  I didn’t ask how, all I can think of is to have Julia gargle with warm salt water if and when she complains of a sore throat.  I also received an email letter stating she was covid negative with the warning that the test only proves that Julia was negative on Friday at the time of the test.  Do you think they give that same warning to republicans?  

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just so much this time

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Day 12 of school.  Julia had challenges last week transitioning to going to school and the new school schedule, but this week has been pretty good.  There is not much homework because classes are 90 minutes each and she has some study support built into her day.  I’ve been arranging for one after school activity a day—she gets home after 4 so one is all she can do—and that too has gone well.  Julia is still on her iPad hiatus and so it is important to have planned activities; however, for the most part she is not whining for more time online.  After-school cello, theater class and therapy are all online as are all of her general ed courses.  She is tired at the end of her day.

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soul feeds

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Julia has today off for Yom Kippur.  I’ve never observed the day of atonement but this year, because it is punctuated by a school holiday, it sticks in my mind.  Who to include on the list of those to ask forgiveness of, who to reach out to, who to say a silent prayer for, to give a silent thought for.  

Lists.

I have a list of what I’d like do during this season—reading, writing, getting body and voice into shape—and the challenge is simply beginning.  Six months at home alone with Julia, working as planner and manager as well as caregiver and cook, makes the discipline to begin something for myself hard. Last week, days 4 to 8 of my free days, I did what I needed to do—finally getting to see the dentist, finding a place to fix my rocking chair and bringing it in, returning books to the library and picking up new holds, a bit of weeding and cooking. I don’t seem to be able to slam into the discipline I need but I can pick off some low hanging fruit.  My lists should probably be written in circles.  That low hanging fruit needs picking so it wasn’t a waste of time, it just didn’t feel like a launch.

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a tzaddik

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9:41 pm

I sit in front of the laptop.  I talked to two friends and cannot get to Cheshire via text or phone.  I scroll through Facebook, watching who sends sad emojis to me and sending my own sad emojis to as many friends as I can who posted the sad news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death tonight.

I found a live coverage in front of the Supreme Court building.  People milling about.  Lighting, holding and leaving candles.  Talking.  Every so often it almost seems like singing will begin but so far, no songs.  Two people are holding pride flags, a few guys on bikes join the crowd, a few dogs bark.  There is applause now and then, as if someone had come out or said something, but there is nothing to hear.  Really, nothing is happening.  It is sad.  It is a wake.  Respectful.  I would like to be there.  And I watch.

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