noticings

Tags

, , ,

Last year everything shut down, quickly in a single week.  It was a dizzying time of cancellations and closings.  During the last two weeks, we are in the middle of openings.  I remind myself repeatedly not to forget—not forget how closed we were and how hard that was, not forget how slowly we opened and what an unusual challenge re-opening has presented to us.

I appreciate that Massachusetts is opening slowly with much deliberations.  Probably not perfectly, but what has been perfect about this time?  The mask mandate expires on the weekend and I am grateful that Governor Baker announced the end of the mandate two weeks before it was to happen.  Although very happy to imagine being maskless, I find I have reservations about completely abandoning our facial protections.  Is it really that I cannot trust two shots and two weeks?  Or is it that I cannot trust that those who will walk around maskless on Saturday are vaccinated? As of today 50% of Massachusetts are fully vaccinated; 69% have had at least one dose.  The percentages are higher in Newton. During the weeks between announcement and maskless days, it has been comforting to be in stores and garden centers and see everyone masked.  A year of protecting myself, protecting Julia, has left its mark.

Continue reading

thoughts on the coming transitions

Tags

, , , ,

Julia put on a red plaid skirt, a green plaid shirt and a tiny white shrug today, together with some anime character knee socks and her white sneakers. The sneakers a concession because she has track after school.  When I saw the clothes heaped in a pile on the bathroom floor, ready for after shower dressing, I made my sour lemon face which Julia did not see—those clothes do not go together.  And admittedly, if I tried to put them together . . .  but then again, I would have never attempted to put two plaids together let alone a dark red and a light green.  Julia put them on and they looked okay, interesting even, somehow not outlandish at all.

Julia has her own style.  Always. And she is on her own learning curve.  I have said these things, thought these things for a long time.  The mantra has seeped into my soul and I am beginning to believe it.

Julia will be walking in the high school commencement ceremony in a few weeks.  She will not get a regular diploma—something that was hard to give up on when she was in 9th grade and something that I am so grateful that I did not hold onto.  I think she might have been coaxed and prodded through the requirements and MCATS at Newton North, but not during these crazy two years, not during her rough transition from Madison in the months before shut down.

Continue reading

a walk, a house and a challenge

Tags

, , ,

It is spring, and then it’s not, and then it is, and we get to open the windows for one day.  

Last Saturday was that day.  I almost wished I could have spent it in my little garden plot. —Yes, indeed, I can once again plant tomatoes and basil, a pumpkin, some chard and salad greens.  I did nothing to enhance the soil last year but as this is my second year, I am thinking.  But last Saturday was for walking and walk we did in The Gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley.

Elm Bank was a private residence built in the 17th century. At the turn of the 20th Century, the owner engaged architects to build a neo-Georgian manor house and hired the Olmsted Brothers to design and improve the gardens. After various owners and various uses, the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 and it is now owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In April of 1996, after a public process that included thoughtful consideration of all aspects of the sited leased Massachusetts Horticultural Society. The old manor house is in need of deep restoration but the garden beds are laid out and ready to be worked on for spring.  We enjoyed the bulb flowers and the flowering trees, and I enjoyed just being in a working garden on the verge of a season. 

Continue reading

This I believe

Tags

, , ,

On Sunday, March 14th, I delivered my This I believe to the congregation of FUUSN (First Unitarian Universalist Society in Newton). Had it been ordinary times, I would have done it standing the the pulpit looking over the congregation. I don’t know whether that would have have been more or less intimidating. As it was, I was safe in my little zoom box sitting in my study seemingly talking to myself. If you’ve read anything on this blog before, you will recognize ideas and passages. I am grateful that Erin asked me to do this and grateful that I was daring enough to say, ‘yes.’

Good morning.

I hesitated when Erin [Erin Splaine is FUUSN’s minister] asked me to speak today.  After all, I still count my FUUSN membership in months, and I’ve gotten to know so many of you, not in person, but in these little zoom boxes. That could make me just a bit shy about sharing my heart today. And then, I write all the time about what I do and think, but I don’t think I have many conclusions. “This I believe” sounds, at least to me, like the speaker has come to a few conclusions.  Of course, we ask our COA teens to take up this task and they always do it brilliantly. But it seems to me that the older I get the fewer conclusions I have.

There is a line from my husband, David’s last play, the play that was performed a few months after his death. The line goes like this:

Just suppose you are now doing and have been doing for quite awhile exactly what it is you are supposed to be doing.

Continue reading

almost spring

Tags

, , , ,

“March went out like a lion
Awakin’ up the water in the bay . . . “
~Carousel, Rodgers and Hammerstein, “June is Busting Out All Over”

Funny, I remember this line and sing it in my head as “March came in like a lion” every year this time of year.  So, according to my lyrics, March came in as described.  We have had warm hatless days and the snow is disappearing—we are not in Wisconsin anymore! When there is sunshine, the sky is a shade deeper than pale blue and we are searching for the first signs of spring breaking through the earth. I have to go on neighborhood walks to find those signs of spring instead of my own garden. Still missing my own little plot.  I need to ask my landlords if I can use their side garden for vegetables and a few annuals again.  I have another month or so to ask.

Signs of spring — tulips and eggs and pasanky dye

The lay of the land, so to speak, has been more interesting in the last few weeks than in many months, although there have been bumps.

Continue reading

ending the plague

Tags

Today, I am infused with the first bit of hope that I have felt since March 10, 2020.  That was 3 days before school was shut down and a handful of days before everything in Newton was closed down.  That Tuesday before the schools shut down, I felt the snowball pick speed down the hill.  It didn’t take any great precognition to read the Times and hear what was happening in Italy and know what was going to happen here.  I felt chilled to the bone and, imagination running wild, I thought I knew how bad it was going to be. And in many ways, my imagination didn’t do 2020 justice.  I didn’t imagine how long and how wide the pandemic was going to be.  In the past, I’ve imagined myself catastrophizing when bad things happened.  About Covid 19, I was an optimistic minimalist. 

Anyway, yesterday I got an email from our healthcare provider yesterday right after I dropped Julia off.  I was told to log onto their website and there I was told to call the Covid hotline if I wanted to schedule a vaccine.  I did not hesitate to call although I doubted that I was eligible for the vaccine yet.  The state is still working on 75+ and there is a group of essential workers who also stood before me in line.  

I called and the nurse told me they were vaccinating anyone over 65 and would I like to schedule.  I asked when; she said tomorrow.  I mumbled an “excuse me, tomorrow?”  What I meant to say was, “tomorrow, tomorrow?”  Or something equally as foolish.  

Continue reading

snow, travel & home

Tags

, , ,

A jumble of thoughts, events and musings today.

Snow day for Julia. During the last big snow, there has been only one serious snow before this one, Newton decided not to call a snow day but to merely go all remote for classes that day.  I think that most students were zooming in from home anyway, so it was only the high needs students (of which Julia is one) and some very young students who would have their school day changed.  However!  However, there was an uproar from all corners of town! How could NPS steal precious snow day activities from children already deprived of so much of their normal? The children should have been building snow people and sledding down hills, not stuck in front of computers all day.  I don’t know what the internal (or external) politics were, but the next day a traditional and completely unnecessary snow day was declared.

Continue reading

after the insurrection

Tags

,

Finding a voice after the insurrection—so many write about our national interests so much better than I could and yet I have not read what has been on my mind.  And I am still angry. It is more than dismaying that this self-proclaimed hero of the republic has broken the 210 year old tradition of peaceful transition, that he has lied so often and so outrageously and that he is also the first president since 1869 to refuse to attend the inauguration of the person he lost to. 

For awhile now, I have been wondering what the political rhetoric was like in the years leading up the the Civil War.  What were people, north and south, talking about? What was the tone of discourse? When did violence enter the minds and hearts of Americans? How did the argument of slavery and states rights—the causes of the War that I remember from high school history class—erupt into violence?  I did not understand those causes fully until recently—more the shame on me.  A more succinct cause would have been the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states and Lincoln’s platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories.  Added to that was the inept leadership of James Buchanan, customarily consider the worst president, in the years leading up to the Civil War. (Buchanan might be moving up a notch or two.)

Continue reading