This morning's aid: yoga at 9 a.m.. Last night my yoga teacher sent me a note saying that she is starting regular Tuesday-Thursday classes via Zoom. I have to say I hate the way life is shifting to video. But apparently that is going to be the only way to do lots of things for a long time, so I am trying to adjust. Tom has even figured out a small studio-ish arrangement for me so that I can take part without seizing up in horror at how terrible I look. That's the big problem: video triggers my vanity in the worst possible way. There's no way to avoid the fact that I'm 55 years old and look like it. When I can't see myself, then I don't care. When I can, all I can focus on is ugliness.
Apparently this post is exuding stress. I apologize for that. What calm can I share instead? How about:
I looked out the window yesterday and saw a turkey in my back yard. I have never seen a turkey in Portland before. It was large and perplexed and seemed to enjoy pecking up something or other along our fence line.
Cafe Quarantine served split-pea soup last night, which is a most delightful comfort on a rainy evening. (Side dishes: toasted leftover cornbread, raw beet slaw.) Tonight: penne with shrimp, grapefruit salad.
My son is a trash-talking Scrabble player who loves to trounce me. The flip version of this: I raised a good speller who knows a lot of words. Success!
Tom and I have always been solid partners in bad times. He is the prince of my heart. I am grateful for his patience, his kindness, his wit, his resourcefulness, his stamina, in every hour of every day.
Here's a poem from Chestnut Ridge, a small paean to everyone who manages to keep loving one another in these dark hours.
Saturday Night in Connellsville
Because, across a crowded table,
the man you have loved for twenty-five years
catches your eye and breaks into a smile
so bright it could light up the Yukon;
because, as you smile back through the candle flame,
your lanky fifteen-year-old leans all his wiry,
vibrating weight against your shoulder,
and your chair shudders and your neighbors laugh;
because when you put your arms around your boy
and press your cheek into his bristly hair,
he reaches for your hand and holds it against his own cheek
and doesn’t let you go;
because the man on the tiny stage dances
over the guitar strings as if his fat hands
are as fragile as the snowflakes
that sift slowly from the unseen sky;
because the crowd breathes alongside you
in easy patience, in careful, quiet joy;
because even time has paused
to shift its flanks and listen,
you say to yourself:
I will remember this.
I will remember this forever.
[from Chestnut Ridge (Deerbrook Editions, 2019)]