Day 103: Joy in this normal.
It’s not yet 7 a.m., and the world is waking up beyond the sanctuary of my back deck.
Birds start their morning chirping hellos at one another, cloistered and invisible among the leaves. Western Avenue hums.
In spite of the drama during last week’s farmers market, I came home with an armload of tiny herbs that I planted up in long, terra cotta–colored plastic containers: basil, rosemary, parsley, lemon thyme, dill. Chives from an upstairs neighbor have been happily, floppily making themselves at home for weeks.
The neighbor smokes a cigarette, barefoot on his own deck. He frantically shoos the dog back from some peril, reeling into the wet grass as he whispers shouted reprimands.
We sometimes share a nod as he disappears behind the sliding glass door to the kitchen.
The deck is swept clean, and the rare blessing of a cool morning breeze dances over the tops of my bare feet.
This is the normal I cherish.
Early mornings, before Mark’s alarm stirs him awake, before River discovers the energy to claw at the screen door begging for food.
I make my coffee, measuring beans to the gram and grinding them as the water comes to temperate. Swirling water over the grounds in the paper filter of the Chemex and patiently awaiting the bitter fruits of that small labor. Depending on how I’m feeling, maybe a glug of almond milk, a tip of handmade vanilla syrup gifted by friends.
The New York Times crossword is my unbroken routine, more than 530 days in a row. My morning haven, a few minutes of ordering the world to lock in perfectly, letter by letter.
Awkward crosses, naticks, and amateurish fill be damned: My joy waits quietly in the acrosses and downs, every morning without fail.
It’s 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, and I’m watching a video Jena sent me of a doctor at New York City’s Weill Cornell Medical Center talking about COVID-19. He is calm and measured and educated, and despite the scariness of the information he’s presenting, it’s a balm in an environment that remains mind-bogglingly post-truth. Keep your…Read More
Today was better. I made a new to-do list — four items, one a carry-over from yesterday’s — and set about crossing things off. After my morning coffee and breakfast, I video chatted with a developer colleague in a small German village. After giving me an update on where we stand with our website project, he recalled…Read More
I think I discovered another angle to why I don’t love teletherapy: In addition to the ritual of physically getting there, and being in a space I associate with hard work, healing, and often comfort, it also preserves the sanctity of home — creates the illusion of space from the rawness of whatever feelings come up during…Read More
I suddenly can’t shake this overwhelming sense of being a Very Drab Human. What kind of person worries about being interesting at a time like this? But believe it, Dear Reader: I have shelter-in-place FOMO. So many friends are watching amazing concerts, exploring home schooling with their children, tackling some huge project, meaningfully engaging with…Read More
I woke up with an earworm: “1979” by Smashing Pumpkins. I have never liked Smashing Pumpkins. But this morning, once I don’t have to think about words making it from brain to finger to keyboard, I’m going to play Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness front to back. What is it about ‘90s music that…Read More