Sink.

Sunday morning, I took my broken sink drain pieces to the hardware, laid them on the floor, and asked for help. At some point, I realized I’d need to be an active brainstorming participant, although, let’s face it, in the scheme of things, this isn’t exactly brain surgery.

I paid my twenty bucks and headed home.

Here’s the thing — when I began screwing these puzzle pieces together, I realized I’d have to go off script again. The floor drain was epoxied together, and then spraypainted white, as added glue.

I reached in my kitchen drawer and pulled out the super glue. Will it hold? Who knows.

But here’s the more important thing, the water’s flowing. Our kitchen is humming with cooking and cleaning again.

In these dim November days, I often find myself thinking back on my life, wondering what would have happened had I gone this way, or that way. Foolish, maybe, and definitely nonproductive. And yet, like a wound, I can’t help touching that.

Chocolate for Plants

The forsythia bush I planted four years ago as a forlorn stick with a few ratty leaves is taller than me now. I’m not a giant — I’m not even five feet tall — but this forsythia has leapt from bush to sapling.

We’re at the annual point in the year where I appraise our tiny homestead. The garden needs to be prepped for planting garlic, and there’s plenty, yet, to rip out there. The sunflowers are bending their stalks earthward. I’ll leave their fat heads for the birds to pluck seeds all winter. As for the forsythia, I wonder, Will you bloom next year? Each spring, this plant has given few gold blossoms, but I keep thinking its true radiance has yet to shine.

I offer this bush a fat layer of compost — chocolate for plants. Time will tell….

If you’re in my neck of the woods, I’ve been invited to a book discussion group at the Craftsbury Public Library, Sunday, October 3, at 4 p.m. The Craftsbury Library hosts outdoor events, so wear a good sweater.

listen,

you a wonder.

you a city of a woman.

you got a geography

of your own.”

— Lucille Clifton

Overheard

Running along the old railroad bed, I pause when I see a couple ahead of me. I know her as an acquaintance, and she’s walking and talking animatedly with a man I don’t know.

I linger behind, breathing deeply, just about near the end of my run anyway. They keep walking. Sunlight filters through the trees over the narrow path.

Then, abruptly, what I realize fascinates me so much is merely the carefree tone of their conversation. They keep at it, talking, their hands gesturing together. Sure, I overhear people; I’m not a shut-in. But I’m mesmerized for these moments by their unmasked and unguarded tone, or maybe I’m just happy to hear their laughter. I live in Vermont, where many people, including myself, are vaccinated and use masks; this makes sense to me. Maybe I’m just enchanted by the warm September sunlight, spilling down through the leaves that are golden and red and beginning to drift earthward.

I linger, following, until they go their way, and I go mine.

Rain, Cats, Kids, Home

It was raining this morning when I carried out a pail of hot ashes. For a moment, I stood in the cold rain, looking at the village below, its few lights blurry through the mist that creeps in on these early winter mornings.

Like just about everyone I know, we’re home — the three of us — for this holiday, with not much more planned than cooking and walking and hanging out in our warm house, with the walls I painted the color of daffodils.

It’s the strangest time, for sure. Decades into my life, I know this, too, will pass. My daughters — ages 21 and 15 — will someday decades hence look back at this time. I imagine they’ll remember this holiday as a time when so many relinquished their own desires for the health of the whole.

So much in 2020 was not as usual, so it’s fitting, I think, that the holiday season starts this way, too. In past years, we’ve had a huge Thanksgiving table, or we’ve traveled, or sometimes it’s simply been our family. But this year, perhaps, draws out the quieter, deeper meaning of this holiday.

So, of all the many things I’m grateful for, I’m grateful that we can endure the pandemic together, the three of us. Around us, I know, as my daughters know, there’s so many eating alone today, separate, but lending their energy toward better community health, even in a cold rain.

I thank thee God, that I have lived
In this great world and known its many joys:
The songs of birds, the strongest sweet scent of hay,
And cooling breezes in the secret dusk

— Elizabeth Craven