Note: Since I last posted on November 21, 2020, about 60,000 more Americans have died of the Covid-19 virus. Despite the title of this article, I don’t have any words or photos able to deal with that. I do, though, have the need to keep on– to crouch here close to the ground and reach upward–and to feel (much of the time) hopeful. So, here are the words and photos I do have.
On Wednesday, I heard the Kings College Choir, Cambridge rendition of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” including the words, “peace on earth and mercy mild.” Of course, I know the lines–I have been singing that song for over 60 years. I can see myself in my bedroom back in Detroit singing carols alone in my bedroom. I don’t know why the words like peace, mercy, silent, holy, gloria, and the rest seemed so important to my earnest little self, but they did. What struck my heart this time around were the words “mercy mild.” In this year and in this time of year, I am wishing for mercy. The word sounded fine enough when I was a little girl and I didn’t understand it; now I believe mercy is what all we humans need. Mild, too–what a concept–for these dragon-ridden* times. Mild like the touch of a little dog’s leg reaching out to pat my arm. Mild like the rustle of oak leaves on a walk through the woods in Shenandoah. Mild like the sounds of children playing outside.
Tom and I having been spending a great deal of ( I might say, “too much”) time at home, but it has been okay. We have Zoom meetings with our children and others. Tom plays bridge online once a week with friends. We’ve also started playing games at the kitchen table that we used to play at campground picnic tables: Upwards and Boggle. On the table we have a tiny hydroponic garden, which gives off a full spectrum, but mild, light. Tom has always been an excellent cook, but now he is outdoing himself. For example, last night he made Pati Jinich’s tacos bravos and Sam Sifton’s chile crisp green beans! All I can say is that when we can host guests again, we will be ready.
Tom and I watch more TV than usual, but we also read, volunteer, and exercise (most days, I take walks and/or do my weights and stretches, but maybe not today).
I hope you have happy holidays, and a more merciful and mild new year.
*”Dragon-ridden” just came to mind. Then, I realized the word came from a favorite poem from my favorite 20th century poet: “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen” by W. B. Yeats. I recommend this poem in reference to Two Thousand and Twenty.
**For an agnostic, I have a surprisingly large collection of winter holiday music!