The After

It was fall just last month, with leaves covering the ground while our hemisphere said night-night ’til spring… and now spring is HERE, or will be in a couple of days. It’s been cold this week, but the grass is green and the trees are budding. My tall duck-blind here on the corner tells me the story every day, and the takeaway is that nothing is final except death, so where there’s life… hope exists.

I observed a moment of silence yesterday in honor of my Diary-of-The-Year-That-Was, after I made my final entry. She was a sweet muse, my diary friend, and she carried me through dark and light for 365 days without leaving me to my own ends. I missed her immediately, I miss her still… but endings are sometimes the next step in the process if you do it right. I had an imaginary friend around age four whose name was Agnes Opal and whose persona I absorbed, along with her delicious moniker, but she didn’t make it to 1st Grade with me. We were country kids without the privilege of kindergarten at our small school, so I managed to shed all vestiges of Agnes before I was found out by my peers, OMG. Endings… don’t argue when they stop you in your tracks – you may have escaped a fate worse than death and you’ll never even know. My uncles thought it was just damn cute when I said my name was Agnes Opal, but it wouldn’t have given me a great start on the playground, so yeah… endings. Once you figure out that LIFE CONSISTS OF CHANGE from womb to tomb, you own the formula for peace. But full disclosure, it’s tricky to apply.

Today’s our official immunity date after our COVID vaccinations, which will change very few things in our immediate world except for that breathe-a-little-easier feeling. We’ve done what we can, we dealt with a wonky health year in our household, and we’ll keep masking in public for as long as we need to. Douglas County’s new cases yesterday were ZERO, so there’s that hopey-changey thing again, always in the background.

I couldn’t be more ready for spring and the joy of walking onto the balcony barefoot and soaking up sunshine. It’s a good time to come out of the cave.

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A year in the time of COVID… page 233

Day 365 – 03/16/2021

One full year, with a diary page every day & a half to show for it… I’m calling that creativity. These 233 pages hold joy and tears, light spirits and heavy hearts, my truth, reality as it happened, shock and awe. Kim and I created our own environment in here when we sheltered, and fine-tuned our routine to meet the circumstances. We’ve creatively avoided driving each other screaming yellow bananas in this open loft, and managed to create an even better vibe than before. Creativity matters in a crunch, as does patience.

The only thing I’ve had no patience for is the jerks.

This year in the catacombs could have been so much easier on everyone, and infinitely less deadly, but it was what it was, we went through some things, and eventually it’ll all just magically fade away. The mantra from hell still haunts…

All year I’ve railed against injustice on these pages, grieved cruelty and loss, damned stupidity, sought answers to the human dilemma, wished for connection… but a speed-skim from March 16, 2020 to today tells me it’s been at least 85% sunshine all up in here, and I’m glad I can look back and know that.

After the steady outpour, it could be time for a sabbatical, so I’ll be consulting with the muses… when they fall silent, I follow suit. Writing it all down was a wise plan… likely the best care I could have provided to myself and anyone who’s had to deal with me.

But tomorrow restarts the clock for 2021 & a half, as all of us survey the wreckage and wonder where to start. The challenges will gradually become less life-or-death, and more life-or-less. But it’s hard to settle for less, knowing what we know, and being alive all the way seems like the only choice. Thinking about sunshine… thinking about all the good hearts who got us this far.

So, Diary, I’ll take you underground again and close the book on the past twelve months. It was a microcosm of everything good or bad about the human experience, and it’s a valuable bit of living added to my arsenal of understanding. I learned things I wouldn’t have comprehended any other way… and it was past time.

My personal regrets in life are almost solely over stupid things I’ve said, leaving people with wrong impressions. But regretting circumstances isn’t in me because if you change one thing you’ve changed everything. So we live what’s in front of us and hope we do it right… and I have no regrets over the year we just survived. We kept up with the science, we followed the protocols, we’re fully vaccinated, and everything from here on out is gravy. Hmmm… wouldn’t it be nice.

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