Sunday, April 5, 2020
Yesterday was a beauty--blue skies, 50 degrees. Early spring stepped into her glory . . . laundry whipping on the line, neighborhood children shrieking and laughing, walkers stopping by to say hello to my cat and my flowers . . . It was a facsimile of normal, and I was very grateful.
All morning long I worked in the garden. I edged the front flower beds and around the blueberry bushes, and then trundled the cut bits of sod into the backyard, where I used them to fill ruts. I cultivated around emerging bulbs and perennials and weeded out the pushy maple seedlings that are popping up everywhere.
I watched hundreds of honeybees, visitors from a hive up on Stevens Avenue, shimmering among the scylla and crocuses.
Later in the afternoon, my friend Angela called from up north, where the snow is still masking spring--but she was sitting in her 100-degree greenhouse dreaming of summer, and she'd concocted a method for getting transplants from up there to down here--so I will have tomatoes and peppers after all! The two of us crowed and cheered like we'd just rigged the lottery . . .
Oh, the power of growing things . . . the brilliant white and gold of these crocuses, and meanwhile gulls squawk and circle up from the bay, mockingbird spouses flip their sharp tails, a neighbor and I dream of hummingbirds in her lilacs, the cat squints in his patch of sun.
I told you about the terrible grocery store/"I hate you" dream I had on Friday night. That same night Tom and Paul also had nightmares. Tom was in the middle of an art opening when he suddenly realized he wasn't supposed to be so close to people, but he couldn't get away from them. Paul was stuck in a dreadful Zoom conference vortex. By daylight we could all laugh ruefully about how the crisis is manipulating us. But the dread is inescapable.
In the face of such terrors, a morning in the garden, a bike ride, a game of cards feel like a kind of exquisite oxygen . . . which is a terrible metaphor, but I can't think of another way to describe my heightened awareness of everyday gestures. A woman walks by with her dog and tells me what a relief it is to see me back outside, working among the plants. And I believe her. I believe that she is deeply relieved. We barely know each other, but that doesn't matter. This is a time when people say such things to strangers.