Sunday afternoon finds me talking to the Vermont Department of Health contact tracer about my daughter’s positive Covid test. My results, he determines, haven’t rolled in yet.
I’m at the dining room table, chipping wax off a candlestick, doodling on a piece of paper. He asks where she’s been, and I answer honestly, school, home, and the woods.
Through the window, I see a cold rain falling. He tells me about the potential for what seems to me an incredibly long quarantine period for myself, if I don’t test positive. If I do, well, that’s a different kettle of fish so to speak, he says.
What you’re saying, I clarify, is that there’s no good options here.
I apologize immediately. The good thing has already happened. Covid has washed right over my daughter with the lightest touch. My other daughter is vaccinated.
I answer all his questions. Then I ask, Wait and watch?
It’s maddening, he says, but yes. That’s where you are.
The wind bends the pear tree in our front yard. We’ve endured plenty. Our house is warm, stocked with firewood and food. And so it goes.