There’s nothing like a rant to clear the decks. It feels great.

I think I scare people sometimes, which I feel guilty about. Recently a friend got in touch fearful that I was despondent. I mean, I think any of us living on this planet, living through the last 8 months, the last 4 years, all of us probably have a pocket of despondency here or there. I nearly said “sure I am, aren’t you?”

But I don’t want to worry people, or burden them. For me the catharsis in a lament is so sweet and human, such a balm. When I stop pretending everything is fine, I feel briefly bereft, the bottom drops out. But then. I feel terrific. Nap on a beach terrific. Slept 10 hours. School’s out for summer. It’s this I wish to share when I write.

I finally stop avoiding and wade through the muck and things lighten. On my walk I notice everyone’s wearing a mask and I feel such love for humanity. I sit in the car while my teen has her orthodontist appointment (only the patient can go in the building) and watch the faces of those driving by. It’s so intimate, their noses and mouths and chins, right there behind glass, zooming by. I’m grateful to be part of this world.

My friend Jen recently shared this poem:

Good Bones by Maggie Smith
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

And that kind of sums it up, the gorgeous, shocking audacity to hope that as fallen as our world is, we can sell it to the kids, and work together to make it more perfect.

My teen was for years obsessed with stuffed animals. She was a voracious collector, huge piles of polyester-filled fur and sparkles. Then abruptly a year or so ago it ended. A new era started, of mascara and interestingly dyed hair and black leather bracelets. As always, she embraced the new and was rigorous about not looking back.

So I was surprised on a trip for bathroom infrastructure (as you know all this makeup requires bins and shelves and trays) when she wanders towards a pile of stuffed dinosaurs. “Would you like one?” I ask her. And I’m shocked when she gives a quiet but unmistakably affirmative shrug. Gobsmacked.

Fortunately I have my wits about me, and I’m smart enough not to say anything more, or ask any questions. For a moment I don’t even breathe, but then I decide this is safe. I silently enjoy the masked walk to the checkout, the soft sweet dino tucked under her arm. Life is always capable of surprising us, and it’s good to be ready.