Initiation

Throughout time, societies have held rites of passage to acknowledge passages into life stages or into service to the tribe or becoming a spiritual leader. In general, they have a community gathering, some kind of a ritual that may or may not involve mood altering substances or pain, and then emerging on the other side into the new role in the community.

Maybe I’m making too much of it, but it felt kind of like that when I had my COVID vaccine this past Thursday. The Johnson and Johnson one-and-done. Since I am the queen of all side effects (Hubby is too much the gentleman to tell you about the time I was on Vicodan after a procedure and it made me think that Jerry Springer explained everything, so I will), it was my vaccine of preference.

I arrived at the site about a half hour early. The health department had set up camp in an office building recently purchased as the new city hall. Park, follow the lines around the building. Follow the person directing foot traffic with her clipboard. “If you’re here for your second shot, please go to the second floor. First shot people, this way. You’re getting the Johnson and Johnson vaccine today!”

My relief and joy over finally getting the vaccine of my choice combined with everyone else’s made it feel a margarita machine and Lady Gaga playlist away from a party as the line snaked towards the check in station.

Show ID and email with QR code. Go this way. Go that way. Take a seat at the station with nurse in the bright purple top. Scan the code again; verify identity; swab arm, and poke! All done; here’s your card. Wait in your car for 15 minutes to make sure you don’t have a reaction and have a great day.

My arm felt tingly, but it was OK. I made phone calls, went home, ordered and picked up lunch from a local takeout place to celebrate.

The side effects crept up that afternoon. Mostly fatigue, a nagging slight headache. Later that night, I did have some minor chills. Friday I was fatigued and headachy, but it started dissipating late afternoon.

I slept the sleep of the just, the dead, or the just plain dead last night. Oakley began pacing and dramatically flopping onto the floor about 6:30 to let me know that it was breakfast o’clock, otherwise I would have slept longer.

And now I hang out in the liminal space while the vaccine does its job in the next two weeks. I will be protected, but will not be reckless–I’ll continue to to keep my distance from the maskless wonders and will mask up until Dr. Fauci says otherwise. I will continue to wash my hands like Lady Macbeth. And keep social distance.

But in two weeks, barring another surge, I can get my hair cut. I can go back to in-person yoga. I can go to the store without wondering if I’m going to die from it, even if I go directly after the time reserved for seniors and special concern shoppers.

I didn’t glean any insights from the dance with the side effects, but I do know that it will be great to mask up and join the world at large. And that it should never be taken for granted again.

Liminal Space

Here in the soybean field we are less than 12 hours from evicting 2020. I will not be sad to see it go.

In our personal world, Hubby, Oakley, and I were pretty lucky. We stayed healthy (except for a rather stubborn bout of colitis in Oakley’s case) as did our families. No surprise expenses; no crises. For that we are truly grateful.

In the wider world, however…dear Mystery, when will this end? There’s the horror of COVID-19 unfolding in real time around us compounded by an administration that has no problems with the elderly and minority segments of the population dropping like flies while health care professionals and workers who come into contact with the general public lay their lives on the line daily. There’s the shock that so many of my fellow Americans have been taken in by conspiracy theories that defy any logic, and believe the lies of the ones who want to subvert the will of the people to keep the current occupant of the Oval Office installed. And how many want Civil War Part II. That frightens me.

Comfort came in rereading Emily Carr’s Hundreds and Thousands, a collection of her journals from the late 1930s into almost the end of World War II. She was an artist and writer who lived in Victoria, B.C. with her dogs, monkey, and a domestic rat or two. Her New Year’s entries remind readers that this high and wide pile of uncertainty and dread mixed with hope that we sit on this season is nothing new, especially the entries from war time. What will this world get itself up to next year, she asked more than once. She leaned on her faith, kept busy with her visual and written arts, and relied on the company of her sisters and fur-bearing companions to find peace in the tempest of war.

As I wait for the stroke of midnight to launch us into 2012, I find myself doing the almost the same thing. Phone calls to check in on the siblings and friends; journaling; walks with Oakley are what keep me sane these days.

So does the hope coming up over the horizon. In the not too distant future, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will officially take their oaths of office. Since their election, they’ve shown more leadership than the current hot wet mess of an administration ever did on issues related to the pandemic.

We still have 20 days until they take office. Until then, we need to celebrate survival, or at least bask in relief that we’re still here. On behalf of Oakley, Hubby, and myself, I raise my glass to you, Gentle Readers, and wish you a calmer, prosperous 2021.

How to Build a Bigger Table

When you have more than you need, build a bigger table, not a higher fence. John Pavlovitz.

I’ve had Fourth of Julys spent huddled under desks with Oakley and Orion that felt more like end of the year celebrations than this season has. Holidays and I don’t get along really well to begin with, so forgive me for sitting this month out except for New Year’s Eve. I look forward to the books being closed on this plate of lutefisk with a colonoscopy prep chaser of a year.

In the personal world, the holiday get together with my family has been postponed. There’s no way Sister and Brother in Law can get down here safely, and they’re both in risk groups. Brother and Sister in Law are in risk groups. Hubby is in a risk group because of his age. Trinkets and tokens of affection will get exchanged somewhere along the line, I’m sure, though, but in person is contraindicated until further notice.

For now, anyway, it’s time to put the focus on what can be done, especially in the wider world. As we’ve seen, there’s a lot that needs doing. As I write, we have 31 days until President Biden and Vice President Harris are inaugurated (I know it’s technically -elects, but they’ve been acting more presidential than some occupants of the West Wing I can name). Even with the incoming administration, the damage done in the last four years and exacerbated by the pandemic this year is not going to be repaired overnight.

Just like the best way to wash a stack of dishes is to grab a plate and start washing, the best way to help with the mess caused by COVID-19 is to pick an issue and take action. For us, making sure people eat is first and foremost. “Appalled” didn’t begin to cover our reactions to the videos of people waiting in lines for hours to get food. Hubby and I donated to https://solvehungertoday.org, the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

In addition, I’ve been spending more time on Twitter retweeting articles on food insecurity to my elected reps and articles detailing what the populace can do to help their neighbors who may be in dire circumstances. For ways to help in your area, please go to https://www.feedingamerica.org.

If you can donate, great. Even a dollar or five can help (they can create eight meals out of every dollar per the food bank). Even an extra can of tuna or jar of peanut butter means an extra sandwich or two. And don’t forget soap, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, and masks. Those are not covered by SNAP.

Another way to donate is to buy a gift card and leave it with the cashier. That way if someone comes up a bit short at checkout, the cashier can use it to discreetly help the customer.

Everyone can contact their reps at the state and local levels. Email. Call. The US Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121. If you have a rep who’s not responsive, support another candidate in 2022.

In the meantime, wash your hands, wear a mask, watch your distance…and here’s to gathering at a larger table next year.

And Yourself?

Hi there…been a while since I wrote anything here. Thanks for your understanding, but the COVID-based need for isolation has caused the days to smear into each other in grey tones. And there are so many times that one can write about gratitude and simple joys and all that before it sounds as if one had been smoking Hallmark cards.

Except for one. Election Day, 11/3/20. That was one for the books. Both Hubby and I voted early, so we just sat back and ate pizza. I made an election cake from the recipes that dated from colonial times when voting was a cause for celebration. I don’t know what happened, but it turned out really dry. Basically, it’s a yeast-levened spice cake that is traditionally soaked in brandy. Maybe that was the problem, but since Hubby doesn’t do alcohol, that was a no-go. The cake was OK, but not worth the hassle.

However, as the counts tricked in, I could have used a snifter or five.

We both exhaled when the results were finally called by CNN at about 10:30 on the following Saturday. Hubby drove around and leaned on the horn as he drove past houses in our area displaying signs and flags signaling support of the current occupant of the White House. While he was out, I quietly wept in relief, then made a celebratory lunch for us.

The countdown to Inauguration Day is on. I’ll likely fix another celebratory meal. Don’t know quite what yet, but it will be on the elegant side.

First, though, the holidays or what there is of them this year. We had our usual turkey while watching the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving. Christmas gatherings are cancelled for us. Between my siblings, our spouses, and the niece and nephew benign various risk groups, any in-person gathering would amount to a suicide mission.

If it means I can keep my siblings and sibs-in-law around longer by sacrificing this year, I’m fine with it. I’m not hugely in to Christmas, anyway. Except for the cookies.

However, I am into New Year’s. I look forward to this year of lutefisk followed by a colonoscopy prep chaser going out the door at midnight in about three weeks, and I for one will not be upset if the door hits it in the butt on the way out.

Points of Refuge and Respite

woman meditating on rock
Photo by Felipe Borges on Pexels.com

I watched too much TV yesterday and Saturday. Granted that a lot of it involved watching Rep. John Lewis make his final trip over the Pettis Bridge, but still too much of it. It wasn’t the worst thing that I could have done, but it may not have been the best.

In other times, I would have seen who was available for lunch or gone to physical yoga class. But not these days. We have the accursed COVID-19 still in play, messing with most restaurants and many retail establishments. The yoga studio went back to online classes only. And we have had a long stretch of days topping 90 (I wilt at 85 and curl into a blackened ball over 90, especially when humidity comes into play) that’s been interfering with our ability to walk.

But these are extraordinary times we live in. Not unprecedented, since we’ve had the Spanish flu about 100 years ago and the sweating sickness and before that the Black Plague. And countless other epidemics that didn’t get recorded. Oh, and the political upheaval on this scale is nothing new.  Just highly unusual.

How, then, does a person cope?

I’ve been reading. A lot, specifically rereading Jane Austen. The rogues, rakes, and scalawags in her books behave with a modicum of propriety and panache, unlike the miscreants grabbing the headlines of the moment.  Otherwise, it’s a steady diet of books and websites about England, France, and Italy. I’ve found inspiration and entertainment through reading menus from places such as Cafe de Flores, one of the great literary hangouts in Paris. Sigh.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to France, or finally to England or Italy, but I’ll be ready. Thanks to YouTube, I’m learning Italian. I feel confident that I can order coffee and something to go with it. Plus I’m picking up more of what they’re really saying when I watch an Italian mystery on MHz and not just what the subtitles say.

And there’s period dramas. Still on the hunt for something to replace “Downton Abbey.” Or at least fill in the gaps. (Yes, I tried “Poldark,” but when Ross came home  from fighting in the Revolutionary War to find that his father had died and his girlfriend was engaged to his cousin all in the first five minutes put me off.) (Oh, and “Victoria?” They killed off two of my favorite characters. One they had to for historical accuracy, but the other was a shoddy way to advance the story line.)

But there comes a time when one must turn off the tube, put down the book,  and get outside. The problem is finding the sweet spots of the day when it’s relatively cool and the forest preserve isn’t overrun with other walkers, especially the ones who don’t mask up or respect social distancing. Technically, the preserves don’t open until 8 AM, but as long as you don’t bring a marching band with you, the workers pay no mind if you sneak in at 7:30 give or take a few minutes. We go after 5 PM when the hoards thin out. If we walk on the back trails and horse paths, it’s not too hard to avoid other walkers.

If the nuances of weather and thinned crowds fall into place, we walk out to the observation platform on the east end of the preserve. I sit for a few minutes and watch the river tumble to the southwest while Oakley sniffs around the  the platform’s edges to see which critters have been there.

Refreshed, we walk up the trail to meet the common world, ready to take on whatever gets shown at us.

 

 

A Story for Wednesday

 

 

arid barren clay cracks
Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Ed. note: something completely different…a conversation between two goddesses. Popped into my head last week. Hope you enjoy. 

 Gaia couldn’t remember the last time she’d really felt well. Parts of her had turned brown, and the vines that flowed from her crown as hair would on a mortal were limp and yellowed. The cough triggered by the lingering stench of human-made pollution wouldn’t really go away. She closed her eyes, willing, visualizing some new growth, some fresh green somewhere, even on a toe. 

The click of stiletto heels crossing the floor announced the arrival of Kali. Without a word, she slipped a hand beneath Gaia’s shoulder and supported her as she rose into a sitting position. Tug this pillow, straighten the edge of the comforter with the other hand. Guided Gaia into a reclining position against the freshly adjusted cushions. “Comfy?”

“Yes, thanks.” 

Kali’s straight raven hair brushed against Gaia’s face as she pressed a sisterly kiss onto her forehead. “Let me get you something to drink,” she said as she pulled a dark green bottle and a chalice crafted from silver and an enemy’s skull out of her black tote bag.

 Gaia inhaled, then froze as the skull stared at her.

 Kali poured some of the contents into the chalice. “Here.  It’s vegan. Lots of antioxidants.”

Gaia raised her eyebrows at the chalice’s appearance. “Um…”

Kali turned the face of the skull away from her. “The chalice is reusable. Just have to get in there with a brush to scrub out the crevices.”

Gaia still hesitated.

After an awkward pause, Kali admonished her, “Honey, just drink it. A blend of juices from black plums, black and red grapes, and pomegranates. Plenty of antioxidants to help you heal. No enemy’s blood.”

Gaia sipped, then smiled. “This is really tasty. Thanks, Kali.”

“How are you feeling, Gaia? Really?”

“Tired, mostly, but angry and sad as well.”

Kali pulled out a second skull chalice and poured herself a drink. “You’re a lot calmer than I’ve been about how they used and abused you. I was in touch with Hecate. We planned to open a can of whoopass on them, but there was no need to do so after the last reactor incident and the virus.”

Gaia began coughing. Kali raised her to a sitting position and held on to her as the tremors ripped through her body, triggering tsunamis, causing mountain ranges to tumble into dust.

She fell back against the pillows, then looked down at her body, new rivers streaming from her eyes. “This didn’t have to be.”

“No, but you get greedy mortals who willfully disconnected from you and sold you out for the almighty buck and everyone suffers. Suffered.”

“Suffered.” More tears slipped from Gaia’s eyes.

Kali gently dabbed the tears away. “But you know the sad part? Hecate didn’t have to lift a finger. Nor did Ma’at. She’ll take care of them in the afterlife. And I didn’t have to take any action, either.”

“I know. I never wanted you to.” Gaia covered Kali’s hand with hers.

Sighing in resignation, Kali said, “We didn’t have to. They did it all to themselves.”

 

Les Restes

 

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Les restes. Doesn’t that sound yummy? It evokes meals on white plates enjoyed at tables draped in checkered cloths while Edith Piaf plays in the background. What kind of obscure French delicacy is that? Which wine would the sommelier choose for you?

You likely have the ingredients for it in the fridge.  Les restes is the charming name given to the food that didn’t get eaten at one meal and now provides the raw material for another.

As in leftovers. The humble leftovers from last night’s dinner await transformation into today’s lunch or dinner. How?

  • If you have a relative who lived through the Great Depression, ask them how they or whomever was the cook in their house used up leftovers for inspiration. If you don’t, check YouTube for interviews with survivors.
  • Soup. You don’t need no stinkin’ recipe for a good pot of soup. Just aromatics (onion, celery, carrot), broth (in a carton is fine, if you can make your own from veg scraps and bones, the better), and then add whatever is lurking in the fridge.
  • Casseroles. Noodles, pasta, rice. Bits of this and that. Bind it all together with béchamel sauce (1 T. flour, 1T. butter–melt, sprinkle in flour, cook for a couple of minutes to get rid of the raw taste, then gradually add 1C. milk as you keep stirring. Add salt and pepper. You may also add nutmeg and/or the cheese of your choice). If you just can’t, canned cream of______  soup will bind it as well. And I won’t judge you. 
  • You can make salads. Either cut into bite-sized pieces and add to a tossed salad or you can cut them a little finer, mix with mayo, mustard, some herbs, celery and maybe some onion, and create sandwiches or enjoy on crackers. Or eat off the spoon. Again, no judgement. 
  • Oh, and another note about béchamel: if you feel like fussing with making crepes (there are about a million recipes for them out there) use some to bind leftover chicken or seafood, wrap it in a crepe, pour the rest of the sauce over the top, and bake for 20 minutes or so to be sure it’s all warmed up. 

 

Just because consumer have to exercise more care than ever with groceries due to COVID-19 complications (interruptions in the food supply chain; prices going up something like 20%) it doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun while we adapt to current reality.

And if you can create something original out of your restes, so much the better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grocery Shopping as a Spiritual Practice

little girl holding two fresh pineapples
Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

My hair, overdue for a cut at the start of stay-at-home orders in late March,  is at the annoying point of growing out where it’s long enough to fall into my eyes at will, but too short to pull back or put up in a clip. I negotiated Oakley’s time without daycare courtesy of extra walks and many games of “find it.”  A lack of yoga classes has worked its way into my soul and festered some days.  And this year, the big one for both of us: Ren Faire.

In the grand scheme of things, in light of what others endure on a daily basis, my complaints are quite petty. Inhale, exhale with a sigh, release. But wait, there’s more:

The absolutely most challenging thing: not shopping for groceries in person, even locally. I shop for food (and books)  with the giddy abandon with which some people shop for clothes. The places where I love shopping are all near the yoga studio, but since they closed the physical doors in March, grocery runs there are a no-go since I have no other reason to run into town.* We’ve been ordering curbside from (aak) Wal-Mart or produce from the mom-and-pop place en route to Oakley’s day care.

In these times and by ordering curbside, a customer must relinquish control to an extent. I hate that. I want the sensory experience of shopping, the visuals of the fruit and veggies, the way the fruit or tomatoes feel in my hands as I slide them into the bag. And I want to know that it’s the best that I can get.

I’ve had better than expected luck with (aak) Wal-Mart.  I hated setting up yet another account. I’m not a huge fan of their corporate policies, but they are one of the bigger employers in the area, and actually make positive contributions to the community such as health fairs and hiring differently abled people.

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and surrender to the facts and the situation: no vaccine yet, too many shoppers ignoring social distancing and mask wearing, and that Hubby was squeamish about me going into stores with anything less than a hazmat suit, 95N mask, and face shield.  So I did. And was pleasantly surprised by their selection of organic products at decent prices, and the house brand chocolate.

For the most part, I’ve had good luck. I’ve only had two problems, one with oranges that had gone bad from the middle of the bag, and one from the mom and pop store with a tray of tomatoes that had turned sour and watery (my only bitch about their produce is that they prepackage everything and it’s hard to tell if something is going to go bad or not just by looking).

Whether I’m clicking and pointing, or able to shop in person, I always ask the Mystery to bless all those who brought it my way, everyone from the associate who arranged the displays or pulled what I needed for me to the trucker who brought it to the store to the farmer and workers who grew it. Since I am not adept enough with gardening to be self sufficient in the food department, I am deeply grateful to all involved, both for getting it on my table and for pulling it on my behalf in these times.

Another round of lessons in gratitude, acceptance, and surrender. These days are just a sliver of forever, and the faint glimmer on the horizon will grow into a sunrise of better days ahead.

Until then, my favorite farmer’s market opens up this weekend. I think a trip there is in order to tide me over in the mean time. With appropriate gear worn, of course.

 

*I make an effort to piggyback as many errands as I can into trips that way to conserve gas.

 

 

Ten Years On…..

agriculture clouds colors countryside
Photo by Binyamin Mellish on Pexels.com

There are the springs the park is named after. Even in the most f-all cold weather, they still flow through the green cress lining their banks

And there are the Mother Maples, still standing after ten years of storms, their roots like knobby toes gripping, digging into the forest floor.

Ahead of us is the river, shining silver in the early sunlight. Oakley and I turn west on the trail, following paw prints that faded from the trail over time but never from my heart.

The last time I was on this trail was ten years ago. Solo, around Labor Day. back. I hadn’t been out there since the next to last week in May when Orion had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I just couldn’t bring myself to walk there for three months. One of the other dog persons saw me walking alone, guessed what had happened, and threw her arms around me.

I hugged her back. No words were needed.

Before that, before the damned heart condition and the double damned lymphoma took him, Orion’s last hurrah echoed through the park. He caught the scent of a rabbit, the quarry of Brittanys across North America and around the world.  With an unexpected burst of energy, he dragged me down the trail, up the hill to the larger lake, around the west end of the lake, up another hill, then turned us east and slowed to a tentative crawl as we went back to the car.

The final decline began the next day. He had problems getting up and walking and just wanted to lie in the grass in the back yard.

And then he didn’t even want to do that. He stayed in his spot by the back door. I stayed next to him, begging any deity who was listening to please intervene, to please guide me. Was it time to call in the vet?

No, he just had a rally and ate a little banana and a bite of turkey. He was acting more engaged and a little cuddly.

Maybe. He’s not in any pain, but I couldn’t get him out in time.

We’ll try sub-q fluids. That’s helping. He perked up.

And then on the last day,  a Saturday, Hubby brought home a garden cart, one of the mesh ones, put one of Orion’s beds in the bottom, loaded Orion into it, and took him on a ride around the property lines and up and down our road.

We spoke of taking him for a ride the next day at the park, but then he crashed and burned.

I called the emergency number for our vet clinic. No one was able to come out and help with that final act of kindness. The nearest emergency vet was a half-hour away.

If he starts acting like he’s in pain, if he has respiratory problems…yeah. Otherwise…

We took him to his spot. I stayed with him through the night, candles lighting his way. Whispering that I would miss him, but I understood if he needed to go.

I laid on the floor next to him, watching the stars crossing the night sky through the skylights. The classical station played a lot of Bach for some reason through the wee smalls.

Just before the first cracks of daylight opened, I felt my heart get torn from my chest and had a mental image of Orion giving me a play bow, running around our back two acres, then taking off towards the east. I sat up. Checked the pulse points.

That stage of his journey was done.

Mine was beginning. The journey of fumbling through the darkness, the numbness. Not being able to even drive past the entrances to the park without tears scalding my cheeks.

Eventually, while the gaps and holes remained, they shrank, and the raw edges scabbed over and turned pink with new growth. I could walk at the park again.

And then came Oakley. While Orion had been exposed to the outdoors from nearly birth as part of his hunting dog training, Oakley had spent his first six months in a shelter with little exposure to the world outside the building. Walking him and showing him the world of his big brother was nearly impossible due to the anxiety triggered by the overwhelming scents and sounds.

Even with all the training mitigating his early lack of exposure, I just couldn’t take Oakley back to that park. He learned to love the other parks in our area, but the state park I just couldn’t…

But then came the current plague where social distancing became a must. Hard to do at the forest preserves and their weekend crowds. A couple of weeks ago we took a little drive and checked the parking lot to see if it was at 50% capacity or less per safety recommendations.

Deep breath, bite lip behind my scarf. Get out of car. Yes, I’m OK. Oakley’s OK. New playground gear? Great. That tree is still standing. Those outhouses, the ones where Orion and I took refuge from an out of nowhere electrical storm, finally came down.  That final hard wind probably did them in. The flowering trees, the picnic areas hadn’t changed that much. We walked. Oakley sniffed. He may have listened as I pointed out Orion’s favorite places to sit and watch the river go by. But I think he was too busy sniffing to hear me.

Since then, we’ve worked the park back into our rotation. Early morning is best for contemplating the abundance of beauty around us in quiet and semi-solitude while we walk, my feet and his paws padding down the mulch covered trail by the river.

Sometimes in the silence occasionally punctuated by a bird’s call or the wind in the leaves, if I listen with my heart, I can hear an unseen set of paws running alongside us.

 

 

 

 

 

And Yourself?

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

So how the heck are you, Gentle Readers? We are slightly bonkers here from the monotony of the days in the soybean field, yet we are grateful that we are well off in so many other ways.

We’re making an effort to stick to some kind of schedule. Meals and walks get served up at pretty much the same time daily as they were before the stay at home order went into effect back in March. The two changes: afternoon walks are later to avoid crowds at the parks, and we stop at 2:30 for tea, species-appropriate treats, and to watch the daily briefing from Governor Pritzker, Dr. Ngosi Ezike, the head of the Illinois Public Health Department, and other dignitaries with important information pertaining to this accursed modern-day plague.

Those, too, have patterns and rhythms. If Gov. Pritzker’s opening remarks include acknowledgements of people on the front line in one capacity or another,  or introducing additional speakers, the statistics will run low. If he hands it off to Dr. Ezike right after thanking everyone for tuning in, we know the numbers are even less pretty than usual.  It’s been interesting to listen to a National Guard commander detail what’s gone into transforming McCormick Place from a convention center into an alternative care facility for COVID-19 patients. I felt uplifted by the motivational speech by a young man who created a NFP to mentor teens in his tough neighborhood reminding them and others to use this time at home to set goals and work out game plans to achieve them. Next come the questions from reporters, and then everyone is thanked and that’s it for the day.

Sometimes we watch “Jeopardy” to cleanse our palates. Sometimes nothing short of time in the woods will shift gears. And sometimes as it’s been too many days this spring, it’s too cold and rainy, so we have another snack.

Luckily, the weather has shifted gears, finally. My plan, subject to change due to factors beyond my control, is to get the garden planted in the next week. One of my local organic farmers is selling plants with curbside delivery. I know that I can trust him to pick good ones for me. Usually, I would buy them form the ag store, but many shoppers there believe that masks  and distancing are but suggestions.

The tough parts for me have been keeping Oakley amused (day care starts again next week–it’s located in a county that will start opening nonessential services on Monday) and not being able to shop for food in person. Well, I could. I don’t because as with the ag store, a lot of people in these parts see social distancing and wearing masks as a government plot to strip civil liberties. We’ve been getting curbside from a mom-and-pop near Oakley’s day care and as much as it gags me, Wal-Mart.

Will we have markets this summer? I don’t know. Right now, I would love to have tea or lunch in person with a friend, but because so many are in risk groups, and Hubby is in a risk group because of his age, I can’t and won’t take that chance.

Even back in the days of the Black Plague, people understood that isolation and quarantine was the best way to shut it down. In fact, did you know that “quarantine” is derived from the Italian word for forty? Now you do. And if this was something new, you may go take a nap.

The plague passed. So will this, eventually.  Not unlike a kidney stone, but it will.