“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
-T.S. Eliot (Little Gidding from 4 Quartets)
We celebrated my sister’s birthday by the simple act of walking to the ocean on Tennessee Valley Trail in Marin County. In so doing, three things happened that I haven’t experienced in six months:
1) There was a traffic jam getting to the Golden Gate Bridge and coming back over it.
2) We ate in a restaurant.
3) We came back home to our house after dark.
The first was not a happy sign of life edging back to pre-pandemic normal (in these two cases, it was road work). That tension of being late for something and creeping bumper-to-bumper. Well, no one misses that.
The restaurant was full outside, but very spacious and with high-ceilings inside. However, with 5 TV’s blaring, way over-priced food that I could have cooked better at home, it didn’t make me too anxious to get back to eating out a lot.
Coming home in the dark was fine, simply a reminder that any night life we used to have—meetings with friends, out to and back from the movies or a lecture or a jazz concert—simply hasn’t happened. We’re okay without it, but I do look forward to some of it coming back. Especially since I don’t have to awaken at any particular time the next morning to go to school!
So there it is. Not quite as profound as the way Eliot meant it, but the first signs that we can return to some things with renewed appreciation and consider letting things go that we haven’t missed. Both individually and collectively.
Meanwhile, the so-welcome news that air quality in Portland is down to 91, in San Francisco to 8. If we can get the Hate and Ignorance Quality-Index down that far, things will start to look up.