Snowfall

From the moment I knocked my glasses off the night table as I tried and failed to start my day, my crabbiness seemed too stubborn to budge.

Scowling, I filled up the kettle to make a cup of tea — I was too impatient for a warm cup of something to make a Chemex of coffee — and limped and creaked into the morning.

It’s been 227 days since I resurrected this blog, since we quarantined to protect our communities from the virus we all thought would be handled months ago. We were wrong. “Pandemic fatigue” has set in, leading people to make stupid, risky decisions that put everyone’s health at risk.

It’s eight days before a presidential election I’m too scared to feel optimism about, despite polls all but assuring victory for the candidate who isn’t actively ushering in a fascist, authoritarian regime. Did we learn nothing from 2016? Even with a win at the polls, I don’t see myself exhaling until our man puts his hand on the bible in January.

It’s mere hours until a damnable conservative-majority Senate spits in the face of the will of the people and confirms a rammed-through Illinois judge with an antiquated “originalist” view of the Constitution — and everything it represents — to the highest court in the land. Their utter disdain for democracy will come back to bite them.

Ugh.

It’s hard not to feel suffocated under a blanket of existential dread.

If I were the same person I was when I wrote my last couple of entries — during what I now call my “lost summer” — I probably wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. But pharmaceutical salvation found me in August, and I finally emerged from that crippling fog of depression and anxiety (though not until after one of the worst weeks of my entire life).

But I do get out of bed every morning. And I do the thing. I’m not super hopeful for the future, per se, but I go on. I donate money, I text bank, I make sales calls and write proposals, I meet deadlines, I cash checks. I cook until my back aches. I pet my cats, I do the crossword puzzle, I watch The Great British Baking Show and Succession and oh my god so much streaming.

I get a good night’s sleep — well, sometimes good — then I wake up and do it all over again. These days, I’m crabby more days than not.

But then I look out the window through the busted slats of blinds that have seen better days and fewer cats, and I catch a glimpse of our first fat, fluffy flakes.

And I scare my husband nearly out of his chair yelling, “SNOW!”

I rush outside like a child, reaching my hand beyond the deck railing to catch a crystal before it melts into my skin. The snow won’t stick, and everyone who still has to leave their homes bemoans the flurries as a harbinger of the frigid hellscape to come.

I do not mourn the passing of this summer or the falling of leaves.

I can’t help but feel a little starry-eyed and moony at the idea of scented candles, clanking radiators, more snuggling, more streaming, more safe harbor of home. And I recognize that’s a privilege of immeasurable magnitude.

But here we are, hurtling together through time and space, upright on a round earth by a force we can’t see, and the snow will come whether we like it or not. Like so many things. So when the drifts pile beyond our windows, we shovel a path for ourselves and turn our heads to spring.

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