Where We Are

One week into April, golden coltsfoot flowers — dime-sized — push up through roadside gravel. Every day and then again in the evening, we walk and explore, searching for frog eggs, for ribbons of green shoots pushing up through the forest floor.

The isolation is hardest on my teenager, who gets up every morning, soldiers away at her schoolwork, goes for a long run.

Implicitly, she understands. There’s no attempt to discuss the end of isolation, of the emptied-out town, of her abandoned high school. In these sunny, radiantly spring days, we progress.

Isolation pulled us down — almost immediately — to what matters, and, really, nothing else. Each day, accomplish some work. Share a meal. Pet our cats. Knit a few rows.

Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

— Philip Booth, “First Lesson”