Sunday, August 22, 2021


In the midst of the glory, things can turn on a dime. We go to sleep in the arms of a benevolent mother and awaken alone and abandoned.  A bit overdramatic, as my own story is so mild compared to the telegram in wartime or the cancer diagnosis or the call from the police. But after feeling embraced by the lakes I’ve been graced to swim in each and every one of the two weeks here “up north,” I suddenly felt like I was underwater and couldn’t shake the water out of my ear. Went to sleep hoping I’d awaken normal, but that didn’t happen. So off to the local emergency room, where they irrigated my ear, got out the accumulated ear wax and confirmed that I had a mild “swimmer’s ear” infection and I should take drops and stay out of the water for at least five days. Aargh! And while they were at it, they looked at my cut foot that wasn’t healing because I kept walking on it and suggested I keep that out of the lake as well for a while. So no wading either.


Ach! Not easy to be exiled from one of the best reasons to be here, to watch the grandchildren splash around without joining them. And then I lost my pen, the Niji stylist I’m very attached to and was having a terrible game of Five Crowns with the family and getting grouchier by the second (though I did make a comeback on the last hand and went from last place to second!). 


It should be embarrassing to publicly admit these ridiculous First World problems in the face of the catastrophes that have, can and might happen, but hey, I promised myself to share both my triumphs and tribulations, my confidences and my vulnerabilities, my moments of the best childlike self dancing with the most adult self and the wise elder and equally, my needy and whiny 3-year old and the teenager who feels shunned by the group (as I did in a recent men’s group). 


And so. A reminder that life is perpetually fragile and it’s a freaking miracle to simply be alive and functioning, so we better be grateful for each moment of health and friendship and good fortune. The boats are out on the lake, the refrigerator is full, my kids are working on the puzzle they gifted me made from photos of the family, Zadie is astounding me with some puzzle genius as she finds and fits in the two pieces none of us could find, Malik is reading aloud at his 4thgrade level on the cusp of going into kindergarten, my wife is jogging having dealt with five months with her own surprise turn of events with constant back pain. The world keeps spinning, the virus keeps raging, far too many people think and act as if we have the luxury of business as usual, but inside it all is the sheer miracle that life exists on this planet and that we are here to savor, enjoy, sustain and preserve it. 


Time for my ear drops.


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