The spring seems slow to arrive despite the persistance of the sun. The trees are still bare, though I can see a faint red blush of new buds on the branches in certain light. The colors are muted; outside my window, the shingles of neighboring home are brown, white, and grey, like the tree branches, and the sky is a smokey blue suffused with white.
I am having ahard time imagining what is to come. Of course, there will be tulips, followed by bleeding heart; a carpet of sweet woodruff, and tiny ferns poking their heads out soon. But how will we, I, change? How will we take all that has happened to us, the news of murder and hate, of voting suppression, of the invisible plague that is actually getting worse, not better, despite the slow supply of vaccines? People are getting their shots, but must remember to wear their mask, that a vaccine is not a golden ticket but a step.
I am on a party-planning committe for a community-birthday for 2022. A year from now, I feel hopeful that a party of people can congregate in close quarters, share food and laughter safely. But I can’t imagine it this summer. Maybe small backyard barbeques will happen this Fourth of July if enough people are vaccinated. But what of children, of the young adults? I am having a hard time visualizing it.
But we must visualize it, we must see over the fence.
The mourning doves have laid at least one egg, and are taking turns to sit on it.
I am lately appreciating the quiet satisfaction of reading new work to strangers, and listening to theirs. I am enrolled in two writing practices. One is Natalie Goldberg’s online Way of Writing class. More than two thousand students are enrolled, and together, on Saturday mornings, we write with Natalie for ten minute stretches. We are then bundled into groups of four by the computer, and read our work aloud to our small groups. At the end of the course, with classes taking place twice a week, ideally, I will have read aloud to forty-eight different people, and will have heard stories from the same forty-eight. I will have written about forty new short pieces, and have listened to 120 pieces by other writers. Adding up the numbers is energizing, somehow.
So far, we have written about colors, numbers, and death and suffering. We start and end with meditation practice, and the work is refreshingly good. Sometimes I have been moved to years listening to others read, and I know I am not the only one to have such a response. We do not know anything about each other, except we are mostly in our fifties, from all around the world. Somehow, we gather to read our work to one another, to validate ourselves for the moment, to be less in a vacuum.