It was supposed to be the year of balnce, the score for perfect vision, when things universally might be righted, adjusted. Instead, it was a another thing entirely: plague year; contagion from Covid-19. And now the last days drag by, darkening at four-ish, though the solistice means we are getting a minute more of daylight each day.
Mostly, I looked out my window. In February, I’d planned to be in Paris with a group. Instead, I lingered at my balcony window, and watched three successive nestings of a pair of industrious mourning doves. I watched the hummingbirds run riot over a pot of Wendy’s Wish salvia planted with Love and Kisses. I read an awful lot and then I began to watch an awful lot of tv. I logged seven hours one winter night with Scandinavian drama lightened by Danish seaside comedy. I forced myself reluctantly to venture outside and snap a picture of something other than my balcony–which in reality is several inches deep of metal , only a few steps away from an old-fashioned fire escape.
I mostly hung out with myself, zoomed a little, taught one class, revised an old manuscript, made a few more inches in another. I read The Guardian online at least four times a day; the NYT a little less. I learned to make radio from home, and was relieved to go back to the station, albeit with a mask, and a lot of hand sanitizer. Meeting distantly with friends was a rare joy; my radius became much, much smaller.
Yet I wish you could see the way my Christmas lights shine in a reflection out my window. This year, I relented and ordered a proper set which proved easy to hang. they twinkle like little gold stars in crooked lines. A neighbor has set up a neat gizmo that projects lights onto the trees, so we can pretend a little as the trees glitter with magic.
I don’t know when and how things will ease up as they must. The vaccine will be available for eveyone’s use around the same time Apple releases a new macbook Pro, I think, sometime in the fall. I read about four hundred British tourists sneaking out of their quarantine hotel and instagramming their so-called success, but most definitely selfishness. I find I have less tolerance these days of containment for human foibles. Yet as I type, that news has become already several days old, and I am not as invested in it anymore. Meanwhile, real refugees are turned away or taken to remote islands like lepers. We hardly ever really change, do we?
Yet such a happy surprise when something does change for the better. Small steps, little joys, lighting our way out of caves and dens.
Indira Ganesan, Summer hummingbirds, 2020