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Pickle Me This

June 23, 2021

Returning

Something that is surprising me about my feelings about the world reopening again after a very long and difficult time is that I AM SO READY FOR IT. Like ridiculously ready. There is no trepidation, or anxiety, or complicated feelings (though of course there are. But far fewer than you’d think). None of it is complicated in the slightest: I want to do all the things. Bring on the Roaring Twenties, Motherfuckers! Basically, if I’m not dead in Jay Gatsby’s pool by the end of August, what have I even done with my summer?

I have erred on the side of caution over the last year and a half. We did visit the museum and art gallery when permitted, and my children returned to school in person in September, but we haven’t socialized with other families since last summer when we’d picnic in the park. My mom came to see us at Christmas, but we sat apart with the windows wide open (and you can imagine how pleasant that was in the depths of winter). I’ve not been inside anybody else’s home, or eaten in a restaurant. We at dinner on a patio once in October, but only because we couldn’t find anywhere to get takeout from, and it definitely wouldn’t have been our first choice…

But now we’ve thrown all caution to the wind. (WITHIN REASON! I am still only gathering outdoors for the summer, keeping distance, wearing masks when I can’t. Tomorrow I receive my second vaccination shot.) I WANT TO DO ALL THE THINGS. Last Friday, Stuart and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary with a dinner on a patio. It felt like a dream. Sharing space with other people! Drinking beer out of a proper glass! Choosing to order dessert! I sat down and thought, “Delta variant!” but then put that bad thought out of my head, because I am finished with this pandemic. You know that thing that people kept saying all winter, something like, “The pandemic is not over just because you’re over it.” But you know what? It is. I am. BYE BYE BYE.

On Sunday evening, a dream came true. After a year and a half of (mostly) patient waiting, our family returned to our sacred swimming ground, the Alex Duff Pool at Christie Pits Park. Which seems much closer to our house than it did before everyone in our family became a cyclist, but now it’s just the most pleasant, swiftest journey away, up Brunswick and across on Barton. I didn’t dare to really hope that it would happen—the possibility of thunder clouds, or a pool fouling. I’ve learned over the past year and more not to think too far into the future, just to take things as they come instead, but it came. Six o clock, and we were let into the pool area (45 swim sessions reserved online, no use of change areas, but still) and there it was, the place I’d been dreaming of since Labour Day 2019, which was the last time we’d swam there. Even better? As the other swimmers began to arrive (attendance was capped) we discovered we had friends among them, and I jumped into the deep pool without testing the water, and it was like no time had passed at all.

June 16, 2021

How the Pandemic Has Changed Our Home

Every weekday morning for the past year and a bit, I’ve woken up in the morning and moved the furniture around in order to transform our living room in a yoga studio. Enough space for two mats, though not enough that a supine twist can be performed properly. I’d love to extend my arm, but there’s the matter of the sofa, and what can you do?

The home gym doesn’t stop there though—upstairs in our bedroom we have a stationary bike that I bought about five years ago, and used joylessly until I discovered that swimming was my ideal physical activity, and put away in the closet. I really supposed I’d gotten rid of it altogether, but it’s a good thing I didn’t, because it’s been our pandemic saving grace.

When our bedroom is not a spin studio, it’s the place where we hide for Zoom calls because it’s most out of the way. Until a few weeks ago, our “desk” was a patio table with a table cloth over it, but when spring returned, we wanted our patio table back for eating, and I was lucky enough to find a secondhand desk online. (Very lucky! Desks are hard to come by these days. I’m sure there’s not a spare desk in the city…) The desk has wheels, which means we can arrange things to ensure racks of drying laundry do not show up in the shot. I have spent the pandemic envying people who have sensible homes with offices and bookshelves, but these days I am just happy to not be sitting at a wobbly bistro table from Canadian Tire whose bolts really need to be tightened.

Last year our children were certain they wanted a beanbag chair, and bought one with their birthday money, because what else are you going to spend your birthday money on in 2020? So now there is an additional place to sit in their bedroom, even though it takes up most of the floor space. It’s been one of our favourite pandemic purchases, and makes for a comfy seat when someone’s tired of sitting at her desk for virtual school. Her sister does virtual school in the living room, which gets turned into a classroom once its done its yoga studio duties.

The children’s bedroom is also the only room in our house that has a door, and so it’s where everybody else hides when I’m doing an important online event at the desk upstairs. Alternatively, when I had to record an interview for national radio, I did it in the children’s room, although Stuart had to go outside and tell the guys with the leaf blowers to stop it. The children’s bottom bunk has also proved to be a fairly good escape from it all when there’s no one else to hide in a way that I might not have expected.

The kitchen table has always been my desk, and so my pandemic has probably been less disruptive than everybody else’s, and I have to share my desk now, but it’s with a person who regularly makes my lunch, and so its always nice to have him. He always refills my teapot when he makes a pot of coffee, and we take turns fielding queries from the children down the hall: “What do you know about phantom power?” “How do you spell luck?” (My answer to any of the spelling questions: “What do you think?”)

It doesn’t surprise me that so many people have pulled up stakes and decided to move during the pandemic. The last year and a half has highlighted so much about our lives, and opened new possibilities we might not have considered before. If you have to spend weeks locked down at home, it’s also really imperative that that home be someplace comfortable, which is just one of the many reasons we’ve considered ourselves so lucky during this time. Our apartment isn’t large, but it’s adaptable, and has different spaces so we can all have a little bit of space to do our thing. We have a backyard too, which has meant the pool that’s delivered us so much happiness while public swimming has been off the table. Even better, we love our neighbourhood, and I’ve appreciated being close to great stores and bakeries, so many restaurants close for takeout, and being here throughout these last fifteen months has been to be connected to others, even when that seemed like a scary thing. It required us to go out into the world with courage and also faith in our community, and both things have been good for the soul, I think.

May 17, 2021

On Archipelagos

Last March when the wheels fell off the (western) world, a former classmate of mine who lives in Shanghai was having none of everybody’s passionate proclamation that FINALLY we were all on this together. Well, where had been the rest of us, she was asking on Twitter, when she had her neighbours had been enduring lock-downs since January? 8 weeks by then, which seems quaint now, the pandemic was young. And where we’d been, of course, was living our comfortable little lives supposing that what was happening in China—and then Iran, and then Italy—was something that went on “over there” and it could possibly have nothing to do with us.

To be fair, I am not entirely sure what else we should have been doing in practice, but I am sure it was the principle of the thing that bothered her. That things that don’t affect us directly might as well not be happening at all, which is a comfortable way to live, it’s for sure, but the last year has made quite clear that no man is an island, and no country is either—except for New Zealand. (Why can’t we all be New Zealand?) I was thinking of my friend in China a couple of weeks ago as Nova Scotia went into lockdown, and everybody I know there was all in a tizzy, and I just wanted all of them to calm down. Because if I’m still here and doing okay on Day 175 of MY city being in lockdown, surely you might endure your own burden with a little more stoicism?

My irritation wasn’t very generous or kind, but it was born out of a suspicion that what had upset a lot of people was that they’d been hoping fate would exempt them from what everybody else was going through. That somehow, they thought they were different or they were better and therefore the rules did not apply, and also I’ve worked very hard to get through the last six months non-hysterically and so to see other people losing their minds over a handful of cases is really just a test of my patience. Can I just tell you that 175 days is a very long time?

I have this vivid memory of being in high school, and a friend and their sibling were fighting viciously. It had turned into a huge problem for their family, and their parent was really struggling, and I was over at their house witnessing on altercation, and I remember saying something like, “Hey, don’t worry! My family yells at each other all the time!” And I have a distinct recollection of the expression that passed over that parent’s face in response to what I’d just told them, that this wasn’t any kind of comfort. The kind of empathy that you wish was otherwise—I don’t want to know what it’s like to be you at all.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I think it’s interesting that we ARE all in this together, but also we’re distinctly not. Or maybe we ARE islands, but we’re archipelagos too. And eventually the bad news come for everyone, for some more then others. These things aren’t given out fairly, for sure, and I’m think about peaks and troughs, whose meanings are turned inside out when we’re thinking about infection rates. April was a brutal month in Ontario, and one day I saw a photo of somebody out for a beer on a patio in the UK and I was absolutely filled with jealous rage, which isn’t my go-to. And now it’s mid-May, and things are getting better, finally, as they’re only getting worse in the province to the west of us. Steps forward and steps back again, and it requires so much patience.

I don’t pay attention to the numbers, unless they’re good. I wrote this last summer and I still stand by it, even though the numbers are so much higher now than they were then, and these numbers are the good news compared to weeks before. What a crappy time it’s been. I am still frustrated that bad policy has again and again wasted momentum we could have built upon to avert so much loss and tragedy. But such as it is, and another thing I’ve learned from the last 175 days and which I can probably share with people for whom lockdown is brand new is that it will probably get worse before it gets better. But also it gets better, which is the most fundamental point and reason to keep going. And this is what we can take away from those who’ve been through it before.

May 6, 2021

On Specificity

What I find most fascinating about our pandemic times is the way that Covid-19 resists all generalizations. Are the kids all right or aren’t they? Are your chances of contracting the virus high or low? If you go become infected, will you have a mild case or become deathly ill? Will you recover easily or have persistent symptoms? Are you safer at home than you would be in the world? And one’s point of view certainly depends where it is coming from: an ICU doctor certainly has an important perspective, but such a person also has a highly specific experience of Covid that doesn’t necessarily inform anyone’s experience in general. The same can be said for any middle class white person ensconced in their bubble who doesn’t know a single person who’s been seriously affected by the illness.

A meme from a left-wing meme generator went around this week comparing infection rates in Calgary to those in India, which are apparently lower, and the meme was meant to be sensational, and it wasn’t wrong, but it was also highly irresponsible because with Covid-19, context is everything. And the contexts of Calgary and India are so far apart that comparison is ridiculous, but it’s also hard to get people really hyped up about specification. About a virus that affects so many people so very differently, and of course it’s hard to balance appropriate public health measures to control such a thing, and it’s even harder to really understand how to tell the story of it at all.

That racialized people and those living on lower incomes or in poverty seem to be disproportionately affected is one thing that seems to be true across the board. And after that, I don’t even know. Because there are people over 100 who recovered. There are people who are in their 30s and dying in their sleep. From the first time we encountered the virus, it’s been determined to defy the terms and rules that we set for it. Covid-19 is a non-conformist.

And what do we do with that? How do we tell of a story of something that’s affected each and every one of us on such a high specific level? Or are we kidding ourselves to ever suppose that any story is actually like this? Are there any universal truths? And I wonder if there’s not a lesson inherent in all of this about how complicated and specific most ideas actually are, and their lack of applicability across the board. I am starting to wonder if there is no such thing as a system, and if this chaos, however much we’ve managed to harness it, is the closest we’re ever going to get to order, and maybe instead of resisting, we should lean into it, which would be to see things as they are.

Specificity, right down to the atom. This is like how World War One broke everybody’s brain. I think I may be finally coming to modernism, and I’m only one hundred years late.

April 12, 2021

Eyes On the Prize

I was scrolling Instagram yesterday when I came across a sponsored post from The Washington Post that was only out to push my buttons, and I hate being manipulated, so I resisted for at least seven seconds, imagining that I wasn’t going to click on this piece: Intelligence forecast sees a post-coronavirus world upended by climate change and splintering societies. But, of course I was going to click, not because I was excited about or interested in the topic, but because such a headline makes me unreasonable anxious, and then I just have to click in order to clarify that it can’t be as bad as all that (which is the whole story of my entire relationship with Twitter, you might recall), and it pretty much was that bad, but of course they’re only forecasts anyway. And I’m distrustful of forecasts. My shameful secret is that I wish fewer people were into tarot, because it’s not sensible, and I’m just really wary of prophecies in general, because they close us off from possibilities, undermining the only thing that’s really clear, which is: nobody knows what’s going to happen next.

“…whoever makes up the story makes up the world.” From Ali Smith’s Autumn, and I think about this all the time. I think it might be the truest thing I know, and certainly it’s been true with the narrative of Covid, as we move from one wave to another with such a sense of inevitability, but it really wasn’t. We’re under strong restrictions here in Ontario right now because of this failure, and I keep thinking about how different things would be if the messaging wasn’t, “Stay home!” but instead, “Get outside!” If people hadn’t been laying bets on a second wave before the first one was over, and instead we’d been shown how to build on our success in bringing down virus levels in the spring, if we’d been empowered to use our behaviour to keep making a difference. If the people who were telling the story (and creating the headlines) had been more cognizant of the weight of their responsibility, the power that they had to shape how the story goes.

I continue to think a lot about this, about my own insistence on there being possibilities in addition to DOOM. I’ve written this before, but there is a correlation between being hopeful and being brave enough to possibly wrong. It takes courage to acknowledge the many different ways the story can go, and insisting on the certainty of worst-case outcomes can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I know the forecasters in the Washington Post article weren’t making their predictions based on tarot cards, and I know that tarot too can be an empowering kind of storytelling at their heart, but regardless, I keep thinking about what we told our kids when they were learning to ride their bikes. Telling them, “Keep looking at where you want to go,” which is a difficult thing to intuit, because you’re thinking about your feet on the pedals, and the wheels, and the path right in front of you, with the whole world whizzing by, but if you aren’t looking out at where you’re going, you’re never going to get there. Keep your eyes on the prize—and even you don’t arrive, you’ll have come to a different, better place than you would have if you’d never bothered to try at all.

March 31, 2021

What Now?

“What now?” asked my friend Avery Swartz in response to the blog post I wrote yesterday, which I also posted on Instagram to much response. And at first, my answer to her question was, “Right??” Figuring she meant it rhetorically. “What, now?” Because it does truly boggle the mind, our government’s response to the current moment. The refusal to listen to experts, to do what needs to be done, to deviate from a plan that appears to be no plan.

But it was a genuine question: what does it mean when I say that yesterday I hit my limit, that “I’m done”? What does that mean for what I’m going to do today?

Me? I’m going to keep going. After falling off the patience train yesterday, I’m going to get back on it. I’m going to keep taking measures to protect me, my family and my community. We will continue to wear masks, even outdoors. We will mostly continue to associate with no one outside our household. We will definitely not be seeing anybody indoors, which has been the case for us for a year now. We will be doing everything within our power to limit the spread of the virus.

But I am going to have a masked outdoor gathering with my parents on Sunday. I cancelled plans for this at Thanksgiving, and I regret it now. With warmer weather returning, we have the opportunity for these small outdoor gatherings, which are low-risk, and I’m going to have this one and appreciate it, particularly because it will likely be some time before we have another.

What else am I going to do? I am going to continue to show my support for my kids’ teachers. I am going to use my voice in favour of serious lockdown measures in this province to bring the spread of this virus under control. I am gong to order takeout and support other local businesses.

I am going to start taking action to do what I can to make a positive difference in the 2022 Provincial election and help us get the kind of leadership we deserve.

I’m also going to chill out. Rage is not the answer, except to the question of how to destroy me. Chilling out has been my strategy since September or so, and it’s served me well, and certainly hasn’t made the broader situation any more awful. Disengaging from Twitter and a lot of online chatter is so important for me. There is so much noise going on there, in particular in the sphere of provincial politics, and so much of what everybody is in a flap about doesn’t actually really matter, or filter up to the real world. I found this a lot when organizing events in support of public education pre-COVID, that most normal offline people people didn’t care about so much of what I was enraged about all the time…and sometimes you have to wonder in a situation like that which of us is the person who’s actually missing the point.

I am organizing a community clean up. I am staying engaged with the world through select news sources. I am doing whatever I can to make life a little bit less terrible for the people I interact with who don’t have my privilege of being able to work from home. I am taking responsibility for the things I have control over and not losing my shit about anything that’s outside that purview.

I will keep going. And we ARE going to get there. It was just never going to be an easy road, especially because of our spectacularly terrible leadership. We all deserve better. And I hope we can work together to ensure we get it.

March 30, 2021

Don’t Make Plans

Is there any way that I can possibly convey just how exasperating it is for Doug Ford, 13 months into this pandemic, to be telling me not to make plans?

Doug Ford, whose entire approach to handling the pandemic has been “no plans,” whose approach to school re-openings was LITERALLY “Let’s give this a shot, at least…and pray to god that everyone’s safe.” Doug Ford, who campaigned for the job of premier with a platform of “no plan,” whose Ministry actually thought it was totally okay for teacher-librarians to be finding out on Labour Day that the next day they’d be teaching kindergarten. Whose whole plan for the second wave was to do nothing until the pandemic was once again out of control, and whose plan for averting a third wave was to open up the province again while infectious variants are rising. Whose vaccine roll-out plans have been definitively NOT GREAT?

Who ever could have seen this third wave coming, not to mention the second one?

Um, EVERYONE.

Right now, teacher’s unions are advising the province to move schools to virtual after Easter weekend, and then keep our delayed Spring Break, which I think sounds like a fine plan, but because this is a government that prides itself on not listening to unions or people who know things, perhaps they’re probably not going to take that advice, and this is the kind of instability that’s been a hallmark of this group of ding-dongs since they were elected.

And maybe the Premier doesn’t make plans, but I do. Like everyone, I had plans for 2020, plans that got cancelled one after the other, and I’ve been mainly uncomplaining as I cancelled those plans, because some things can’t be planned for and you can’t control what happens (when you’re not the government), but instead how you react to it. So I’ve stiffened my upper lip, and gone without seeing friends and family, and my children have been brave as they’ve made giant sacrifices in their own lives, and I’ve tried to live up to their example, and so it was with Easter last year, and I cancelled our plans for an outdoor Thanksgiving, and Halloween, and Christmas was my mom coming over in the afternoon with us all wearing masks and the windows open, which was freezing, and I haven’t seen her since then. We had picnics in the park six feet away from friends in the summer, but haven’t socialized with people outside our household since our kids returned to school, and I’m still not complaining, because you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, and also I continue to be so grateful that we’ve all been healthy.

But today I hit my limit. I am finished with having all my plans cast aside because of this government’s complete lack of a plan, and over and over again. This is not like last spring when nobody knew what was going to happen, or what actions would be necessary to control the spread of the virus, when all of us (including the experts) were still in the dark. For months, medical experts have been advising the government to implement paid sick leave to slow the spread in workplaces. Others have been advising widespread testing and tracing, particularly in schools, and this still hasn’t happened. There are all kinds of plans that could have been put in place to avert this latest wave of Covid, and the government has heeded none of it.

And now the Premier has the nerve to tell me not to make plans for Easter? When Easter is literally FIVE FUCKING DAYS AWAY? With absolutely no respect, Doug Ford (because it’s been a very long year), you’ve got no business advising anybody about plans, or messing with mine, because it’s your absolutely failure to plan that’s resulted in our current disaster.

Doug Ford telling me not to make plans for Easter is so absolutely patronizing, disrespectful, and insulting.

Doug Ford telling me not to make plans is like the pot calling the kettle a failure of leadership. It’s like the doctor who missed the diagnosis complaining about the funeral. It’s like the guy who pisses on your boots, and tells you that it’s raining, and then hands you a ticket for standing in a puddle.

March 11, 2021

Get Outside

I went for a walk with my best friend Jennie this morning, whom I haven’t seen since the summer, even though she doesn’t live so far away. The weather has turned spring-like, and we’ve traded our winter coats for spring ones for the time being, and we marched up past Casa Loma, down into Cedarvale Ravine, spending ninety minutes in each other’s company, and we never stopped talking, although we have been friends since 1992, so we have a lot of touchstones between us. When I got home, I said to Stuart, “Hanging out with friends is fun. I can see why people like it.” It was really lovely, though I will admit that hanging out with friends is not something that I’ve been actively missing. I don’t know that I’ve actually been actively missing anything, it occurs to me, which is kind of weird and seems far from other people’s experiences. Certainly in the early pandemic days, I was completely beset with grief—the vacation we never went on (which Google kept sending me updates about, ghostly reminders of what time to leave for the airport to catch my place), the loss of ordinary life and all those things it had never occurred to us not to count on. But eventually, I kind of found my even keel, and stuck with it. (Not counting, of course, the days in January when I was consumed by anxiety and it all felt so hard, and only exercising while listening to up-tempo Celine Dion delivered me any kind of relief.)

It helps that I spend 24 hours a day with another adult whose company I appreciate, and have no shortage of people around the house to bestow hugs upon, and the children’s schooling gives every day a framework and place for me to be at certain times, and even people to meet there. I’ve always worked from home so that part of my life is just the same as it ever was, and in fact it’s better because Stuart is home and often makes me lunch. And this is not a LOOK HOW GREAT MY PANDEMIC HAS BEEN post, because certainly I’ve been in as much despair as anybody and it’s been a long long road, but I think I’ve dealt with the burden of it all by focusing on what I’ve got instead of what I’m having to do without, and yes, probably lots of denial and a bit of numbness, and faith that there will be plays and book launches eventually so I don’t think about it very much, and yes, maybe I never much liked leaving the house anyway. I just think it’s curious, how everybody has their own coping mechanisms, and none of them are ever one-sized fits all, and sometimes I think my comfort zone has become infinitesimally small, so its a splendid surprise to be taken out of it sometimes, as I was this morning. Especially when I get to discover crocuses in bloom along the way.

March 3, 2021

We Haven’t Been Going Nowhere.

We haven’t been going nowhere. You know that, right?

That while indeed it feels surreal to find ourselves in March again, seemingly right back where we started from, that is to forget or discount the cycles, seasons and emotional roller coasters we’ve travelled in the past year.

And I am NOT saying that there aren’t better ways to spend an annum, that whatever we’ve learned is worth what it has cost us, that there are lessons and takeaways we can tie up prettily with a bow.

THIS IS NOT A SILVER LINING.

But also none of us has been standing still, even those who’ve barely left the house or ventured down the block. Even when it’s seemed like life is on hold, every day has been bringing us closer to a time when it won’t be. We have found a way to render some good days out of these strange days, and to weather the bad ones. We have sat with hardship and uncertainty, anxiety and fears when it seemed like the world was ending—but it didn’t. We have born loss and kept going, and found ways to connect across distance, and we’ve grown things, and made things, and tried things and failed things, and while we might be gazing out at the same view tonight… we’ve all actually come very far.

Unimaginable things have occurred this year, but some of them have been so good that 2020 Me would be envious, switching places in an instant—we have vaccines, rapid tests, treatment options, new technologies. Virtual schooling kind of works. We know how disease is spread and I don’t have to worry much about cleaning my doorknobs or disinfecting my shoes. Plus Evermore and Folklore.

I know now more than I ever did before. I know that I am courageous and brave, that I can rise to the occasion and pick myself up again when I fail to, and that community doesn’t fail us, and other people will be what saves us, and that I really can get through this, and I know that you can too.

March 1, 2021

Anniversary

I know I am not alone in feeling a mild sense of dread as this new year moves toward mid-March, toward dates as indelibly etched on my mind as they were on the calendar, before the calendar ceased to be etched altogether.

March 8: our last normal day out in the world, albeit with uncharacteristic attention to hand sanitizing. We took public transit, ate gelato in a restaurant, and gloried in the arrival of spring, discovering the year’s first crocus blooms as we walked home from the streetcar.

March 11: when it became clear that things were not right, and I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from picking up my children from school to stock up on cans of beans and frozen vegetables, a shopping trip the children remember well because they haven’t been to the grocery store since and also because I let them buy all the chips and candy they wanted.

March 16: the day we were meant to fly to England to visit my husband’s family, including our new baby niece and my father-in-law, who was in the last weeks of his life. But we’d cancelled our vacation days before, which at first was a difficult decision and then seemed straightforward, the least of our concerns as the entire world descended into crisis.

After that, dates ceased to mean anything, each day blurring into the next with another sleepless night and heart palpitations from acute anxiety. We were lucky to be safe and cozy at home, counting all the blessings (and there were plenty), but I was not functioning well, unable to do anything much except for one mindless rewatch of Crocodile Dundee on Netflix and refreshing pages on the internet in search of the elusive answer to one question: “What is going to happen next?”

Eventually the distinction between day and night would resume, and dates began to have meaning again—kind of. We managed a pretty satisfying summer. Our children returned to school in September. We are not alone in having found creative and sometimes-satisfying ways to conduct our lives under the circumstances, even if the circumstances still aren’t great.

A year on though, we’re still superstitious about the calendar. We’ve been in lockdown since November 23 here in Toronto, so I would have had to go out of my way to get a 2021 calendar to hang on the wall in our kitchen, and I didn’t want to jinx it. A charity soliciting donations had sent us a calendar in the mail and we went with that, feeling virtuous for saving it from the recycling. March is a photo of a humpback whale—but there is not a single thing written on the grid of days. January and February are also blank… Partly for fears of inviting fate to fuck with me, but also because there hasn’t been a whole lot to write.

I’m beginning to bank on summer though. Not completely—a few plans I’ve not dared to set in ink, because they’re dependent on things beyond my control, but we’ve been booked a camping trip, another week away. The other day I took a chance and penned in our spring birthdays, because it seems likely they’ll be happening, regardless of how many friends we can gather with. Little by little we begin to dare to count on something like the future.

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