Thursday, May 27, 2021

Summer is here

The man and I went to dinner in a Harlem beer garden last Friday, so that was fun. Date night outdoors, a lovely break in the proceedings. I have become much too acclimatized to life indoors, and lack imagination of the joys waiting to be experienced beyond my front door. It doesn't help that I have never been particularly gifted in this regard.

Summer is entering it's oppressive phase, the sun so bright through the window it blinds with its glare, the trees so fully leafed they hide the world, the daylight lasting so late into the night that sleep wont come till past midnight. In the summer, I wish I lived in a house with a deck and a backyard, rather than in a fifth floor New York City apartment. I wish I could step out my door barefoot, and feel the earth underfoot, the silky grass, the pebbles and sharp rocks. We don't go outdoors barefoot in New York. Such pleasures are saved for vacations in other places, and though I am yearning for such a trip, I seem devoid of the commitment and decision-making skills to plan one. I just go along from day to day, dropping down inside myself to check how I'm feeling, melancholy today, climbing the walls yesterday, longing to escape myself tomorrow. 

I can't watch the news anymore, all those dead children in Palestine, all those traumatized still living babies wondering if the next detonation will leave them homeless or worse, the father and his brother who each gave the other one of their children, so that if one of their houses were bombed, their line would live on. Closer to home, the mass shootings again, now that people have emerged from quarantine. What is wrong with us that we can't seem to regulate guns, can't seem to break the thrall of those who refused to be vaccinated because they're not afraid, yet need assault weapons to protect themselves. Who are we kidding? It's not to protect themselves, but rather to intimidate and spread fear, and far too often, to spray bullets and murder. I can't keep track of the names of the dead. Every day someone new. Dead by a cop's reckless gun. Dead by a gun owner's need to play with his toys. Sometimes, it is all I can do to make my world small, pretend man's inhumanity to man isn't destroying us.

What, I ask myself, am I supposed to do with this life? How can I make this day purposeful? And then night at long last creeps down through the trees, but brings no answers.


  1. You have put how I have been feeling into such beautiful words. I have come to crave the release of sleep too much. I know it. I feel as if I am living my one life in the shallowest and smallest way possible. For safety? For fear? I want to change but change seems impossible.
    Or at least, too hard to even try.
    I know this isn't the way to live.

  2. I hear you. We're paralyzed with the weight of the deaths, the cruelty and the stupidity of it all. Who the hell are we as a country these days? What happened? I look at travel ads and wonder if I have the resilience to actually book, pack and go. It just seems overwhelming to me.

  3. I think it's just small things, small kindnesses, that make a difference, not only in our lives but in the lives of others.

    Yesterday a patient came downstairs to say goodbye to us all. I wasn't there because I'm on holidays but when I picked up my hubby a coworker told me about it. I went up to the four floor and found her a room. She is a youngish woman, maybe forty, I can't remember. She volunteers at our hospital and I run into her at the dog park sometimes. She has breast cancer that has spread everywhere but she's not in pain.

    I walked in the room and she's yellow. She told me that she's dying. The doctors said her liver and kidneys were shutting down and she wanted to thank me for being a friend to her. She wanted to say goodbye before she slipped into a coma.

    I cried, of course, and I hugged her, hard. Sometimes I think that's all there is, a hug, a kind word, a connection with another, that's what most of us get. Not everyone saves the world, or runs an orphanage, or does something big. Most of us do small things and that's enough too.

    And now I'm sending you a hug and I hope one day we get to meet in real life, preferably barefoot on a beach in Jamaica.

  4. Sending love and gratitude, as I have found Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter's Story to be deeply engaging and moving, a positive focus while experiencing that uneasiness and melancholy that go with late spring and summer here in Western Washington State -- something like what you describe. It's the low point in the year for me, with too many daylight hours, sleep disrupted when the weather is warm, low energy, allergies, and mosquitoes. We do have the relief of cool rainy days here and the occasional splendid sunny day without glare. The book you worked so hard on with Mazie K. Hirono is a treasure. Know that your purposeful efforts do make a difference in our troubled world.

  5. I have seen it mentioned on other blogs I read and it is all over the world. Worry over the hate and violence and greed that seems to be everywhere. It is difficult to quiet my mind - what can I do to make a difference? I makes me feel helpless.

  6. I hear you about the despair of the world and the desperate, unchanging sadness of it, and the keeping of a small world to try to stave off that sadness and feeling of futility.

    But Lilycedar is also right; it's the small kindnesses that we must continue to give and receive. Life boils down to the little things, the gentle touch, the warm word, the being there for each other. It's never more evident than at the end of life, I have found. The simplest things mean so much. Why should we not live all our lives in the same way?

    Hugs to you, my dear birthday-twin - I was too sad to talk about it earlier but things are slowly getting better and I wanted you to know I thought of you on our day.

  7. I forgot to add that you tell people's stories, one of the most important jobs there is.

    Sending more hugs:)

  8. I can't read the news anymore. It's an endless stream of heartbreak. I was remembering the old days when the newspaper was delivered in the morning and then we turned on the TV after dinner to watch the evening news. There wasn't this overwhelming 24/7 onslaught of nightmarish truth staring us in the face. Have humans changed? Or are there just so many of us that the darkness has overwhelmed the light? I just don't know anymore. I want to live in a different world, the one where you are my neighbor.

    1. I do think the 24/7 news cycle is a huge burden for humanity nowadays. We just need to turn it off and manage our exposure to it all. We need to know what's going on, but we don't need to live it all day every day.

  9. You are not alone, we are all withdrawing for the same reasons. It is very sad. If you long for country/rural living you should go for it. Living close to nature and the soil underfoot is soothing and brings joy in a world of much sadness. Almost like a little piece of Eden. I do feel comfort and calm in my garden tending to the needs of my lovely thriving plants. Gardens do bring joy in a world of much conflict and hardship.

  10. I've turned off the news too. There is only so much listening to it until the poison seeps into my spirit. I want to hide from the evil and am grateful that I can choose too for the time being. Sadly, it truly is everyone feeling this. I was watching "The Stranded Podcast" by Amy Florence. She is a yarn artist living in Scotland, and she was saying the same thing. You should consider that vacation. Even a few days of different scenery is so refreshing. But it is only a tool to forget the state of the world. It doesn't change it.

  11. Do you ever get away from the city in the summer? I've never rented a summer place myself, but when I lived in Manhattan I was lucky enough to have several friends with summer rentals both on Long Island and north of the city. So I got to stay with them for short visits and get a feel for life out of town. Plus the Zendo always had retreats up in Cornwall-on-Hudson and I'd go there for a week or so. It always gave me a boost to get out of town, even for a short time.

    I know what you mean about guns. My fellow Americans truly do bewilder me sometimes.

  12. Oof I hear you about the news. I can only take it in doses, and i can only read it and not watch it or hear it.

    but i love summer! i would love to check out that beer garden AND live in a home where i can walk barefoot into my backyard.

  13. I don't watch the news but the things that filter through via social media has me wondering wtf has America become when violence is the first go to reaction to everything you don't like or get pissed about. a female passenger attacked a flight attendant because the attendant asked her to keep her seatbelt fastened. a male passenger intervened, the flight attendant was bleeding from a cut on her face.

    summer isn't oppressive here yet but it will be.

  14. Watching the News anymore to keep informed is difficult. The insanity and inhumanity is reaching such dangerous levels. I do Wish there were Answers, I know I don't have any...

  15. I ask myself the same question about the meaning/use of my life. I don't think I will figure it out. Not now, not before, not ever.
    Whenever my daughter asked me that question I usually said that "with unfailing kindness, your life always presents what you need to learn".
    And to top it up as a mother, I would add: whatever you do, do no harm.
    She tells me she always felt encouraged and hopeful.

    Now that I must apply this to myself, not so easy.

  16. What you and your beloved are doing with your life together is an ongoing inspiration. I love the way you look into his eyes and heart and he looks into yours.