May 17, 2020
I should have known I was inviting trouble with that last post. Things aren’t as sunny here today, in any sense of the word. It started two days ago with the announcement that a local theater group will not open their proverbial doors this year.
As with all closures, protecting the health of everyone involved is the imperative here. I would never question such a decision. But, like the loss of our cafe with its gorgeous patio, this one delivered a sting. Theater was just about the last “normal” thing I could rely on to get me through the summer. (I don’t think I’m alone in this, either: if the group had required guests to cover themselves in plastic wrap before seeing a play, there would have been a run on my local Piggly Wiggly.)
Better luck next year, I guess. With summer drawing closer, I’ve moved from dread and uncertainty to grief at the loss of my best-laid plans. While it’s exciting to dream up a new way of life, I can’t help but compare it to what might have been. This comes with being a member of a social species.
And yet, new traditions — new bright spots — are popping up all around me. For the past two nights, I’ve joined a friend at dusk to watch the gathering of chimney swifts. They swirl around in seeming chaos, then zoom into a chimney at some unheard signal. It’s a simple but hypnotic event. I found I was content just to sit there, smack in the middle of my town, smelling the river as darkness descended.
In all honesty, I might never have taken time to watch the swifts if my calendar hadn’t been so clear. I would have been too busy seeing plays.