Remember Joy.

The May I was pregnant with my second child, rain fell every day. I remember this keenly because my husband wasn’t working that month. I was about to have a baby, and I wanted very much to be finished with pregnancy. I had been so ill for eight months, and I just wanted to move on.

As it turned out, a gorgeous healthy baby girl was born on May 31. The summer was long and hot, just perfect weather in Vermont.

This year, I didn’t realize until today that we had passed over into the month of May. I’m writing this, as I’ve been in the same kind of dissatisfied funk that I was seventeen years ago. It seems silly to admit this — at the time, perhaps, I was in a funk only because of my own dissatisfied soul. I had — and have — plenty. I was talking to new acquaintance yesterday about the general dissatisfaction and irritability that blossoms up everywhere these days. It’s complicated — it’s always complicated — and by no means do I want to diminish that. I don’t want to diminish where I was in those days, either. Now, I can look back at those days and marvel, at least a little, that I did manage to survive intact, more or less.

That summer, though, I knew it would be the last summer I would ever have an infant. Almost right away, I was lucky enough to know that. I remember thinking, let the laundry go unwashed if need be.

This afternoon, walking around my house in a gently falling cold rain, I remembered those days. My daughter has one year of childhood left. Already I’ve begun to recriminate myself for what I should have done, how, given another shot, I’d be such a better mother. In the rain I came back to that same thinking I reminded myself of years ago, Be here now. Remember: drink joy, too.

Rich

Snow drifts down this morning, officially or not marking the beginning of winter. As always, the cats and I are the first awake in our house, the cats hungry for a bowl of food and then sprawling on the rug, satisfied, happy with the prospect of another day.

The first snowfall perhaps belongs in the realm of childhood, the magical enchantment of waking and realizing the overnight world has silently transformed into white. No one in our house is in the Land of Little any longer, joyous at the prospect of a zillionth reading of The Snowy Day.

Nonetheless — and despite the months ahead of Vermont snow — these moments of gust and flake and the wind chimes singing, the daughters sleeping, the cats purring, are, for the moment, sweet and silent.

The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural….

Louis MacNeice

Laughter

Standing in the rain watching my daughter, behind the socially distanced spaced out row of spectators, I hear a sound through the downpour steadily pummeling my borrowed umbrella. It takes me a moment, but then I realize two women cozied up together beneath their umbrella are laughing.

On the wet field, the girls are playing hard. Their ponytails and masks and uniforms are sodden. Many are covered with mud. Beyond the field, patches of pale gold leaves glow in the misty rain.

For a moment, I have the sense this sums up the pandemic — alone and isolated with my mask and raincoat and umbrella — and yet together. I stand there, happy the girls are playing, listening to the laughter of strangers through the downpour.

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.

— Ezra Pound, ‘In a Station of the Metro’