Independence…

Just after dusk, I stand by my garden talking to a friend when all kinds of things begin happening — a luminescent full moon quickly rises; a fox appears at the edge of a nearby woods and watches us; and our kids burn sparklers. In the neighborhoods and hills around us, people set off fireworks. Colored sparkles decorate the horizon.

Like everything else — a completely confusing holiday.

In the night, I wake when a light rain begins to fall, and I get up and take in my sandals I’ve left on the back porch. For a moment, I stand in the darkness, breathing in the scents of damp soil and rain. Maybe for a bit, I wonder, it might be better to understand the world not as a whole, but piece by piece, beginning with the moon and the kids and the teenagers, the sandals I’ve taken in and that I’ll wear today, dry.

Many people find it easy to imagine unseen webs of malevolent conspiracy in the world, and they are not always wrong. But there is also an innocence that conspires to hold humanity together, and it is made of people who can never fully know the good that they have done.

— Tracy Kidder

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Greensboro, Vermont

 

 

Yes

Driving home from work, I see my daughter and her friend walking through town, talking. I pull over, and they run across the road. We stand there for a little while, talking. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about this at all. They tell me a little about kicking around a soccer ball that morning, and remark how hot the day has suddenly become.

They finish their walk, then we all go swimming.

These days, I sometimes think of my grandparents, whose lives were marked by the depression. As a kid, when we went out to eat with my grandmother, she’d swipe ketchup packets, because, she said, you never knew when you might need it.

For these teens, the pandemic will mark their lives, too. Someday, I imagine, they’ll be saying, remember when high school stopped, and we all stayed home?

They won’t forget. Sleepovers and cozy breakfast in the kitchen are on permanent hiatus, but summer is back. Sitting on the bank, watching them swim, I’m happy for just for this moment — sunlight and pollen-flecked water, croaking bullfrogs in the weeds, laughter — a little more childhood yet to come.

Many people find it easy to imagine unseen webs of malevolent conspiracy in the world, and they are not always wrong. But there is also an innocence that conspires to hold humanity together…

Tracy Kidder

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Photo by Gabriela Stanciu