Every year, in mid-June or early July, I write a detailed review of the half year that has just passed. I call it my midyear throwback.
I consult my journal for details and highlights. It gives me a glimpse into what I have done, or left undone; it reminds me of people I met, and allows me to take stock of what was gained or lost in that season. It tells me of projects I started and those I left halfway, and helps me understand why I bailed, and how to get in the groove again.
This year, what can I say? I have a rough summary that starts at the beginning of 2020 until the middle of March. It stops with the lockdown.
After that it looks like my journal flatlined. There were a couple of vain attempts at resuming. Halfhearted at best.
It is now the middle of August, and I have realized that this prolonged lull should be the best-recorded historic event of my life. But I was in a dark mood, feeling too sad and sorry for myself. The news was all gloomy and depressing. I wanted to sleep it all away.
One day blended into the next. Weeks aimlessly rolled along, and weekends lost their excitement. One month was like the one before. I stopped thinking in terms of Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. I only knew day or night. Clear or cloudy. Rain or shine. I have breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Uneventful. Except when the children join me.
Of course I have had ample time to write. But it isn’t easy. Readers don’t need to be reminded about our dismal state of affairs. They know. And it can get tiresome.
Everyone tries to keep busy, productive. A family friend has taken up sewing and is turning out attractive face masks. Some have taken refuge in their kitchens and are cooking up a storm, to give away or make a living. I just got delicious mushroom gravy from one of those busy kitchens, sent to me by a sweet young lady all the way from White Plains.
Last week, to get rid of the doldrums, my daughter brought me a whole slew of color pens and pencils and beautiful coloring books.
She said it would keep me busy, and that working on something pretty would help me relax and get my mind off worrisome things.
She said she has “outgrown” the coloring books and has resumed her painting by numbers.
So, I have started coloring. I enjoy it. It reminds me of when I was a little girl. Whenever I got sick and had to stay home from school, Mama would buy me crayons and coloring books. My favorites were the Shirley Temple ones. I loved doing her red polka dotted dresses and black patent leather Mary Jane shoes.
Coloring books have come a long way. They now have watercolor pencils. And they have pens in a variety of sophisticated colors. These have fine points and the ink does not run. There is no mess. But I miss the smell of new Crayola.
Whatever, it still takes as much effort today as it did ages ago for me to stay within the lines.
My first picture was Spring. I loved the bright flowers and butterflies. And they did brighten my gloomy rainy days.
I am now working on Winter. I skipped the pages for Summer and Autumn and zeroed in on this one. It shows a Christmas tree.
I couldn’t wait to start working on it. Wishful thinking? After all, in a couple of weeks it will be our first “ber month.”
Am I perhaps quietly wondering what Christmas will be like this year? Will we still be measuring our distance away from one another? Or will we maybe get close again? And when we sing Christmas carols, will our voices be muffled by our face masks? Will we gather as family like we always have? Will it be the same again? Ever?
US good news
Presidential aspirant Joe Biden has selected Sen. Kamala Harris of California to be his running mate. I like her. She is 55, the first black woman to be named to a national political ticket by a major party and the first Asian American vice presidential nominee in US history. She is a former state attorney general. In Biden’s own words, Harris is a “fearless fighter for the little guy and one of the country’s finest public servants.”
Harris tweeted her reaction. “Joe Biden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President.” Her acceptance speech was stirring.
You remember that Harris threw her hat in the ring to run for president, but it was Biden who won the party’s nod. In one of their debates, she castigated Biden for his stand on busing. Biden picked her, nonetheless. This speaks volumes for the man. I hope this is only the first breath of fresh air that will finally do away with the vindictiveness in Washington politics.
The campaign has taken on a contagious energy. The Democrats feel they have a winning combination with these two leaders who promise to “work together to move the country forward and restore the soul of the nation.” We can only hope.