In my last post I mentioned taking a color ride and stopping at the pumpkin far where they had cider and donuts -- and loads of pumpkins! It was a glorious day, the sky that brilliant blue you wish you saw every day. The sun was out and the clouds were puffy. It was a perfect day.
I should be there with two toddlers, taking photos of them with the scarecrow or admiring the pumpkins that were bigger than they were. Then we'd go pick out a pumpkin or two to take home.
We'd have a donut and a cider (I wonder if they like cider?) and they would run far faster than anyone else at that place could.
And yes, they'd definitely be impressed by the tractor!
I'm OK till times like that. Just don't think ahead, go from day to day. "Be like Lizzie"-- think from meal to nap to meal to playtime. Don't think about what you don't have right now, think about what you do. Good enough health, a paid up house, a wonderful life partner, a chatty cat with whom I watch the birds, Netflix and Acorn and more books than I could read in a year.
But in the back of my head I have a bit of anger. It is the anger of stolen time.
I think many of us feel much the same. We are delaying visits with people we love because travel and being with others brings a threat far worse than the disappointment in staying home. If one is 30 or 40 or maybe even 50, it's a big deal in a different way. It's inconvenient and working from home with toddlers, I'm told, is not easy. Nor, have I heard, is online school. We miss casual lunches with friends -- inside. We long for the theatre or movies or the big game. Instead, we take walks by ourselves -- or if we are lucky, with a friend who stays at least six feet away.
But there is next year. And the year after. And probably many more after that.
But when you are in your 60s and beyond, and/or if you have challenging medical "co-morbidities" (one of the scariest words to come out of this, along with "ventilator" and the phrase "dying alone") it's a different deal.
We are being robbed of time when there is less time on the end of the life continuum to make it up. Things are more likely to happen. A devastating fall or diagnosis. Financial issues. Life complications.
Many of us canceled travel this year. I'm supposed to be in England now with a side trip to Paris. On the last trip, I went through the month with ruptured tendons in my foot. It held me back. I was looking forward to not having to deal with that this time. Of course, I might not "hold out" for as long as I'd like, but I might. But with every passing year, who knows? A hip? A knee? Cancer? We just don't know how many months or years we will be able to get on the floor and play with a toddler or travel the world. None of us do.
I can't even cross the border to visit my friend in Canada. She can't come here, either. That may be a good thing. My guest room looks like this. But if they'd open the border, I'd find the bed underneath that quilt in record time.
I don't mean to rant or whine. Well, maybe a little. But I understand all too well that there are those of us who are in far worse straits that I am. I'll miss Thanksgiving and probably Christmas this year. But for many, their holidays will be missing someone who will never come back to the table. Sometimes, and for many, they will be missing two or more people, integral family members, well loved and lost forever except in memory.
I had my annual physical on Friday which went pretty well. I got my flu vaccine and also my pneumonia vaccine booster. No guarantees, of course, but all things considered, a good thing to have. Later that night, the chills started and then throughout the next day, a fever. Normally, I'd just think it was a bug or a reaction to the shots (which is not uncommon) but this time it took two calls to my doc to talk me off the ledge. It wasn't the feeling bad from the lack of sleep that night before. It was the worry of it all, the projecting. The fear that time stolen already was closer to being gone forever.
This week, those of us in the United States who haven't yet turned in their ballot for the elections, will do so. I tend not to write too much on The Marmelade Gypsy that is political. I live with reality every day like all of us do, and in some ways, this is a spot for escape, reflection, and sharing the joy that is a key part of my world.
But for four years I have lived, as many have, in a state of anxiety as I've seen our country's reputation become damaged among the world community. I've seen what Rick calls the "United States of aMErica" at its very worst, with people putting their own selfish wants and needs above the collective good, urged on by one who has done everything in his power to dismantle processes that protect the people, the environment and the country's integrity itself. It's not just the "rich getting richer," it's the poor and middle class falling desperately behind as valued services are reduced.
The rhetoric is vile and dangerous has an impact as Michigan's governor can tell you. Our international reputation is in tatters as we cozy up to dictators and disregard our longtime allies.
Those of us with health insurance through work or retirement, and/or medicare (and please don't put down socialism if you receive medicare) should not forget that millions of people lack health insurance, meaning attention to serious issues is delayed simply because one can't afford it. Unlike countries that have national health insurance or a "public option," far too many are slapped with devastating bills, leaving them in financial ruin.
And don't forget the pandemic. Just about everyone I know is stocking freezers and cupboards with sanitizer, disinfecting cleaners and food.
My best friend from grad school, Tom, now lives in New York but is spending a few days in the metro Detroit area as a poll watcher through the election and if needed after as a legal advisor. He came up for the afternoon and we had (till this photo!) a distanced meet up, talking old times and new. He said that already he has seen attempted voter intimidation and bad mask behavior by those coming to vote.
I choose to vote this year for kindness. For less anxiety. For science and the environment, for health care and for humanity. For respect. For people beyond those in my orbit. My taxes won't go up. Yours probably won't either. But even if they did, aren't some things worth it? I believe they are.
Whatever you do, please vote if you haven't.
And wherever you live around the world, whatever you believe, whomever you vote for -- please -- stay safe and stay well.