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Pickle Me This

May 28, 2020

Terrible and Fine

Pink Lilacs

I can never understand how difficult a moment is until it’s over, which is useful as far as self-preservation mechanisms go—though it might be hard for other people to understand, people who prefer to confront the darkness head on. I imagine those people find my social media posts annoying, everything crumbling, and my insistence on noticing daffodils. But I cannot look at the darkness, instead walking through it in a fog, squinting and imagining that I’m discerning silver linings, and the fog is what’s keeps me going. The fog and the hope, because otherwise I can’t get up off the floor, and it’s doubly convoluted because this crisis, for me and my family, is abstract. Our home is comfortable, we still have our incomes, my children’s needs are met, we’re healthy, and we can afford to stay home and stay safe, meanwhile the weather is glorious, and potato plants are coming up in my garden, and there are wildflowers everywhere—lilacs, peonies, and irises, so much abundance, and so where is the crisis? Whereas if I walked twenty minutes east, I’d encounter homeless encampments, but they’re not on my route. And if I walked by them, would I even see them? How would I make them part of the story I tell?

I cried this morning when the school principal made an appearance on Iris’s class meet-up. Yesterday I scrolled through my Instagram account from the last few months, which is rich with colour and beautiful things, but I knew those images were standing in for sadness and hard feelings (and if you read the captions, this is often the case. I am not entirely delusional). It’s been a terrible few months. It’s also been fine. And how the mind struggles to know both these things at once.

One thought on “Terrible and Fine”

  1. Rohan says:

    This is so true. I am not as adept at you at focusing on silver linings, however foggy, but the disorienting sense that it is awful and yet (so far, in some ways) fine runs through everything that’s happening. We are so lucky in our specific circumstances but the sense that something horrible looms right on the margins … it’s a lot. But our sand cherry is blossoming and the fragrance is just as beautiful as ever.

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