Sweet, sweet summer. Not the same as the last. But sweet. Not working wardrobe-pajamas, but hanging out and gardening pjs. Purposeful, summer-tossed bleached hair. Nonchalant late teeth-brushing. Patience of a naturalist’s eagerness to identify squirrel A (big Mama) from wiry squirrel B (Terrorizing Ted). Living in the tree-shrouded, pond-perculating backyard. Strolling along the beach path with two panting, grinning pups. Drum roll…

and spending the last six days with my NYC daughter and sweet Millie Pie!

We don’t do anything but hang out, drink fizzy drinks, eat just-harvested sweet strawberries and cuddly The Baby. There’s no place else to go except our abode–Angel Cove Cottage By the Sea, morning walks along the beach. No vacation. No getting in the car and traveling. Just buying yummy food—cheese, French bread and olives—occasionally we watch a movie, read the newspaper, try to dive into a book (with 3.5 month Millie, it’s a challenge) and enjoy the process of setting in and catching up.

Right now, it seems like we have the sweet bliss--the luxury–of time. We are are both teachers so we basically share the same summer schedule. We are both nervous about what’s happening in the Fall, but as my daughter has declared several times, “I don’t want to ruin the summer thinking about what may or may not happen. We have no control.”

Being in the moment is what we CAN control.

Yesterday, we walked down to the beach and dropped by the Thursday Farmer’s Market. I was walking the dogs, so my daughteR and 8-year-old grandson picked up two pumpkin, two watermelon and some precious strawberries plants, which had been scarce and out of production. Everyone, it seems, has the Victory Garden bug. Not surprising. As I’ve said before, gardening is all about hope and these plants mean that we’ll have something to nurture and look forward to when life might possibly get even more dicey. I can already imagine the watermelons and pumpkin vines crawling along the stone front yard pathway, weaving in an out of our Poetry Garden, providing neighbors with a smile!

I don’t think I mentioned that in working on the garden immediately after returning from NYC in May, I was inspired by the Black Lives Matters protests and decided (since I was afraid of joining the protests due to virus spread) to create a neighborhood corner of Love, Faith and Hope. I’m using the garden as a canvas to connect with souls who may need a little encouragement. I’ve been noticing people seem to slow down when they walk past: they take photos and talk to their children about the garden’s magic. When I’m outside, we have a nice little chat. People seem more friendly and genuinely appreciative of our patch of TLC. The idea of The Poetry Garden came to me when I was sitting under the stars and thinking about what I could do right now to effect positive change. Admittedly, a garden isn’t institutionally impactful, but I figured if I could use what I have to get people to think about the ties that bind us–love, faith, hope–perhaps we could treat each other with more kindness and respect.

You see, like other ”natural selection” COVID-extraneous people like myself, I know I have a mission, a purpose in life I have yet to tap into. Such beauty to discover and produce. Such fun yet to be had. So much Boisset Collection wine yet to drink!!!! (Seriously, it is The Best wine.)

I have my wonderful three grandchildren to dote on and enjoy watching them grow up and places I want to visit and stories yet to write.

Today, I’m not going to think about the future’s dire possibilities. Today, this moment, is happy. I have everything I need to fill my heart and soul. My family is close by. Food is an online order away. I am healthy. And excited about the unfolding of the predictable day ahead: diaper, feed baby, engage and love, Friday night pizza and wine, a movie and the ocean breeze to coo those dwelling within my Little House on the Corner to sleep. Blessings come in the form of dancing Monarchs and cooing, Jedi babies who saber their grandparents’ hearts into melting hot fudge sundaes. Ridiculous this love thing.

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