A new season.  The longest day of the year.

Solstice songs

Julia and I ate breakfast on our back porch—something she loves to do that I usually drag my feet about.  Too cold, too hot, too buggy and it is morning and we need to get on with our day.  But today, we woke up on time—Julia responding to the google wake up on the small speaker, something we have been working on this entire school year, something she sabotaged last week, something we had a talk about at Community Connections (a serious conversation at her program can make more of an impression than a similar talk at home), her program, and something that she encouraged me to reset (although I’ve only reset one of the three speakers she disabled—damn  my holding on by my fingertips device knowledge.) lat night.

So, she woke up, did what she needed to do (although she still needs some kind of list to make sure she remembers everything.  And any kind of reminder is anathema to her) and there was time to eat on the back porch.  

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heat wave

Vegetable gardening.

A 3-day heat wave was predicted.  It might last longer.  It will not break sooner.  We missed the first heat wave here and lived it in Maryland where our nights were air conditioned.  Then, there were a few hot days about a month ago and our air conditioners were still in the basement.  I could not bring them up alone and I have not yet found a handy person like my Ed of Madison who knew my house better than I did.  Of course, this is not my house, except for the term of my lease, and my handy person tasks are few.

Cheshire and Justin brought one unit from by basement at the end of last week, just in time for yesterday.  And I did what I have done since I moved to Wisconsin and met the cold:  I closed up the house, windows closed, blinds and shades down, doors to rooms not used closed tight.  And left the air conditioner on through out the night.  This is so odd for me, I sleep with open windows, but the house is cool, even the bedrooms are tolerable.

Good, hardworking little machine.  Thank you.  And thank you for the grace of children who will do those tasks I am unable to. 

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miracles & lessons

Our set on a cloudless evening

Emergence.  I’m reading Rev. Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson’s blog post on the topic.  As well as her wise words, there is a quote from Ursula Goodenough, scientist and religious naturalist:

“[T]ales of natural emergence [are] far more magical than traditional miracles. Emergence is inherent in everything that is alive, allowing our yearning for supernatural miracles to be subsumed by our joy in the countless miracles that surround us.”

To both of them, I respond: I didn’t know that emergence could be such a thing.  As attached as I am to the metaphor of chrysalis with all its possibilities of gooeyness and dissolving, I have given very little thought to emergence.  Yes, I know there is, or hopefully will be, a butterfly at the end of metamorphosis but Carlson shines light on the miracle of emergence, the process of claiming change.  She says:

[W]e forget how miraculous we are. The sheer improbability of our existence escapes us, and we need butterfly garden-shaped reminders. Thank goodness there are small miracles surrounding us.”

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half way mark

Cast & Crew

The comments of two friends — one, not quite knowing what she should wish for this venture, the other, asking if I had mentioned anything about this project before it began or had I just dumped everyone into the middle of deep end.  Both very good questions that have me thinking . . . . working the questions out for myself.  

This is an odd project for a person like Julia to be a part of, and as I have described the first few days, especially the first day, Julia was not all that enthusiastic about acting in front of the camera and crew.  Julia has participated in a theater workshop for young people with disabilities, on zoom since last spring, and sometimes she is not enthusiastic about that either.  And yet, once she lets her no-no-no guard down a bit, she is able to follow directions, give her lines authentically and improvise with other actors quite naturally.  Film is actually easier for her than the theater workshop because it is happening in little pieces with plenty of direction in between.  

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Pause.  Perceive time.  Defined by ticking timers with bells at the end, clocks and calendars is one time.  Linear, predictable and plodding.  But time.  My time.  Our time.  Is different.  It rushes ahead, it slows to as thick slime over cobbles, it slides sideways, quickly, irreverently, without regard for wishes, dreams or clocks.  Over the long covid spring, summer, fall, winter and early spring, time lurched and sputtered.  Time lost themselves is a foggy reality of days that lost their names.  There was too much, not enough of it. It was not manageable no matter the breath and depth of my schedules and calendars.  There was no corralling it for me.  I did not write my Lear.  I did not read Proust.  I read and digested a few poems.  Very few, very short.  I was anxious and scared.  I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and grabbed onto a lot of outstretched hands.  I wrote some.  I dug two gardens.  I pushed Julia’s interests and her future doings along bit by bit. Like Sisyphus.  Didn’t he write emails and phone calls to agencies and people?  A modern Zeus would have surely assigned him to tackle DDS, SS and DIB.  Chasing genius ideas to the dead ends of realization—there should be a word for the feeling of frustration and failure when lots of energy has gone into a promising lead that is chased to an unsatisfying end.  

The quality of time was a small ball of clay that could be removed from the greater river of time in which we all swim.  We gathered via zoom with others but there was a sense of privacy—not cherished and beloved privacy but something like a hidden shame, even though there was no shame—we were visible in our small, regular zoom boxes with backgrounds of books that grew to be familiar and to a much lesser degree to the peopled world from noses up. 

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Every day for a year, I have checked the new reported cases chart in the NYTimes.  I wanted to will a change, make the numbers come down when so many times, for so many months, the counts only went up.  Yesterday, the shape of the chart resembled the Little Prince’s a boa constrictor who has swallowed an elephant. And I almost smiled.  One corner of the horror melted away.  Truthfully, the chart doesn’t really look like Santoine de Saint Exupery’s drawing but . . . it was a playful imagining that I’ve have far too few of during the year.  

Can I sigh with relief now?  

I do want to sigh with relief.  But South America, Mongolia, India and France still struggle. We are in this together.  No, real sighing until we are all safe, until we are all vaccinated and I can feel the mist in front of Iguazu Falls and the silence in the Amarbayasgalant Monastery, stand at the tip of the reflective pool of the Taj Mahal and watch the repairs being done on Notre Dame. Then, a big sigh, many sighs will be in order.

Even here, coming back to what was normal, what will be normal is a slow slide, no giant leaps.

The three-day Memorial Day weekend was cold and wet.  Heat clicked back on and outdoor plans were quashed—Julia refuses to enjoy the rain. We went to a first movie, played indoor miniature golf and shopped for graduation shoes.  We had a weekend guest. I noticed how often we wore our masks making our way in the world.  And although, I felt incredibly daring going to a movie, ordering and eating popcorn without a mask (taking the mask off only once we sat down), there were only about a dozen movie goers in a big theater and social distancing was not a problem.  I did not need to test any daring tendencies after the decision was made.  

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and a red moon rose

Third day at the Cape.  Falmouth, MA.  First day on the beach.

The plan for this four-day vacationette at the Cape was to park the car at the inn, bike everywhere and spend at least part of each day on the beach, Julia digging and making castles, me, reading and writing.  As it turned out, we arrived on Tuesday in time for supper, walked up to the main street, checked out the bike rental store which was closed and found out the they are only doing multi-day renting.  No problem, I though. We’d pick bikes up on Wednesday morning and keep them until Saturday.  We had a very nice Mexican meal, sitting outside, reading the menu on my phone.  I had the margarita that I sorely needed and we walked home. 

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This morning, we’ve spent the morning on our back porch.  Julia is editing pictures for her blog.  She has drawn most days but has not posted since the week before the wedding.  We counted and that was 40 days ago.  She lost interest in posting and I can’t blame her-it was supposed to be a place to put pictures for the short term.  After 100+ days and 100+ pictures, it is no longer short term.

This morning, we took pictures of her pictures and it will take most of the day for her to edit and post.  The blog began with pictures of what she/we did during our quarantine days but Julia got bored, it became a lot tougher to come up with ideas and I could not inspire her to continue down that path.  I also was, for a short time, busy with the wedding. And so, she has been drawing what she wanted to—mostly anime characters that she obsesses about.  Not being an artist or educator, I don’t know what to do next with this mountain of pictures. Perhaps an artist or educator could see some development or where to go or what to ask for next.  I don’t. This has long been my challenge.

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to the lake and back

We are home from a holiday few days in New Hampshire.  Julia and I stayed at the Henry Whipple House in Bristol, visited with friends at a nearby lake house during the days, boated and swam and hiked and ate summer foods and played many games of skipbo.  We wore our masks at our inn and walking in the little town center and tried to stay socially distant from everyone not in our immediate party.  Sometimes that felt awkward and uncomfortable but I was grateful that most people we met were observing the same rules.  I so enjoyed being spoiled a little bit—having someone else cook breakfast and make my morning coffee felt like a spectacular extravagance.

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