Day by Day

In library land — as if the masks aren’t enough — I keep reminding myself that the world isn’t the same. I’m not supposed to say, hey, kick off your shoes and relax. Lie down and read if you want.

In my library, an older woman comes in wearing a mask, looking for a locally written book that apparently no one can find. Maybe she has a copy. Maybe someone else in town has a copy. Do I? I don’t, but I manage to find one copy in a library in southern Vermont. That library, of course, appears to be closed.

A young couple arrives next, excited to print out a copy of their nursery license.

The afternoon passes in fits and starts. While I tackle the backlog of details, I listen to The Daily podcast about George Floyd’s funeral. A friend wanders in and leans against my desk, listening, too. By the end, we’re both weeping. I close my laptop and ask how her life is going. What’s happening? We stand apart, talking.

Shortly before I lock up for the night and head home, a woman and her daughter appear. The daughter shyly tells me, I’m in second grade now.

Goodness! I say.

She’s lost a front tooth.

We move outside, into the breeze and sunlight. I listen to her mother who’s working and in school. While I marvel at how she’s kept what appears to me an impossible life tougher, I keep looking at her little girl, holding a stack of library books. Step by step, I think.

I’ve seen enough things to know that if you just keep on going, if you turn the corner, the sun will be shining.

— Rev. Al Sharpton

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