Sunday, October 25, 2020

Yesterday's accomplishments: baking two beautiful fat oatmeal loaves and discovering a new way to cook kale. I also finished Greene's The End of the Affair (not recommended:  misogynistic cynicism basted with Catholic apologism, plus a highly unlovable main character), made progress on my mask sewing, hauled bags of sticks to the curb, started rereading a comfort book (Alcott's Little Men: didactic, yes, but in a wholesome nineteenth-century-progressive way that I find extremely cozy), and sat on the back stoop drinking tea and keeping Tom company while he finished setting the paving stones.

Now Tom has rushed out of the house, on his way to catch a ferry to Peaks Island, where he's going to spend the morning taking pictures at an old WWII fortification known as Battery Steele. And I am sitting here contentedly in my red bathrobe, not leaping into laundry and housework (though I will before long), watching the new morning filter through the window screens and listening to the clock tick.

I am enjoying the advent of fall . . . the chill mornings, the purring furnace, the lamplight and the firelight. I have a freezer full of vegetables and a basement full of firewood. Winter will be so hard and lonely, snow and cold and this endless pandemic, but the Alcott House has charms and improvements: a new fire pit, new garden beds, a new kitchen counter and backsplash, now a new walkway. There's more to do on it: Tom has ordered some steel landscape edging, and when that arrives he'll dig it into the ground and finish spreading gravel against it. Then I'll take over: layer the broad empty space between gravel and stone wall with a thick bed of fallen leaves; spread a truckload of fresh soil on top of it. And a reclaimed Shed Patch will sleep under its blanket, waiting for an early spring planting of ferns and Solomon's seal.

Still, it's hard not to keep lapsing into sadness. I worry about the people I love--both those who are close and those who are far away . . . lonely, sad, frustrated, as you are, as we all are; treading water in a stagnant pond. I list my small delights as a way to remember them, because it is too easy to not even notice they exist.

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