I didn't get started on the pierogi yesterday because I ended up immersing myself in cookie baking instead: thumbprint cookies filled with lingonberries and sour cherries and gingerbread cookies shaped with our various silly cutters. This morning I'll turn my attention to pierogi, and I probably ought to cram some housework into my day as well. Even with such a reduced Christmas celebration--no traveling, no gatherings--the pressure of the season is building.
Plus, we keep having household scares. On Friday, our smoke/CO detectors kept going off for no apparent reason and, because they're hardwired, we knew it couldn't be a battery issue. So for a while we were in a "do we have a carbon monoxide problem?" panic, until Tom suddenly remembered he'd been framing his new workshop space near the cellar detector and had probably gotten sawdust into it, which might have been triggering the sensor. Sure enough, vacuuming out the dust solved the problem. But ugh.
Though I haven't written much lately about the general stresses of being an American, these household issues have felt like some sort of linked localized eruptions: a rash triggered by a larger disease. That is a completely illogical analogy. Of course they have nothing to do with each other, any more than my friend's cancer diagnosis has anything to do with Covid or a treasonous president. But maybe you have felt something similar in your life . . . a fragility; a skin too easily punctured.
I keep writing here about luck and gratitude: for Tom, for my boys, for my family and friends, for my circle of poets, for my books, for my house, for the sturdiness of my own aging body. That gratitude is real, yet asserting it is also a way of whistling in the dark.
I am not, on the whole, a brave person. And these are dreadful times. And I wake in the night thinking of all of the suffering people. And I excoriate my helplessness.