One Eye Open

This morning I awakened like a sleepy dog, one eye open, a bright new day rising up from the east. I wonder what today will bring. Will I learn to breathe through the morning news without a rise in blood pressure?

“One day at a time”, one of my brothers tells me via Messenger.

My sister is an EMT who drives the ambulance in a small summer village on Long Island. When I ask, she sends me a photo of herself in her N-95 mask and face shield.

I think that I’m going to need more than my usual 1 liter of black French press this morning.

On Sunday, I realized it was Easter.

On Monday afternoon, I called my 90-year-old mother. She’s in a nursing home. I asked if the Easter bunny had brought her anything.

“Not yet,” she said.

“Same here,” I said.

Monday evening I enjoyed a fun and inspiring night. I participated in a story-telling event via Zoom. It was stimulating and relaxing. “Yes” to both. A paradoxical experience.

Like cruising down the highway at 75 mph in your Volvo station wagon in the middle of an 8-hour drive to a teaching residency in the Mississippi Delta when you see your rear driver’s side tire suddenly roll past you at breakneck speed onto the median strip. Been there.

In the storytelling, I enjoyed once again having an active role, instead of my current semi-passive existence, writing and keeping house in these pandemic days.

Today is Day 35 of my self-imposed quarantine.

We have plenty of food, plenty of sharpened pencils & black ink drawing pens, empty sketchbooks & journals, shovels & rakes, compost and packets of sugar snap peas. Tools for every whim of creativity.

Groceries are delivered to the porch. It’s like Christmas when I bring in the bags and wipe down the boxes. Tillamook Coffee Almond Fudge.

Thriftway doesn’t deliver alcohol.

I joined a wine club yesterday. At least it was a bargain offer for the first round of bottles. They’re probably getting a lot of short-term members like me, those who are unable to mingle in stores. On my last grocery stock-up day in February, I remember thinking that I should get wine, but then I’d have missed the ferry…

But the wine club was a decent bargain. Just days earlier, cruising the internet at midnight, I found myself scrolling through Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City, craving pastrami. I have all the ingredients to brine one here at home but I wouldn’t be able to select the brisket first hand.

So I came this close to buying a pound of Katz’s pastrami (all natural with 7-days brining and smoking) for $35. Or a whole four-pound pastrami for $83.95. The whole one would have been a better deal. Even with the $70 shipping cost.

Was I insane? I shut off the light and pulled up the covers. That was close.

There’s plenty of gardening to do. And a fence to mend. Both of which give me time to think as I ponder past, present, and future. Present tense is the important one. Nevermind the others.

On Tuesday, I learned that my mother has tested positive for COVID-19.

Like my brother says, “One day at a time.”

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