Vox Clamantis in Suburbia 11/16/2020

The runt Aspen tree in our backyard is almost bare now. The wind and cold have thieved the green and gold away. I say thieved, but that’s my perspective. The runt Aspen would say her leaves were not taken, but given. Nature knows better. My daughter’s Aussiepoo has been our guest this weekend. His name is Arlo, named after the lovable hero in Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur who is trying to find his way home. Aren’t we all? Arlo the Aussiepoo weighs about as much as one of my Nikes, and his eyes are a blue that I’ve only seen in dreams, until now. He follows my daughter around like the little bird in P.D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother? And my daughter constantly reassures him Yes, I am.

My daughter’s younger sister, away at college right now, has received reprimands from her school’s administration. The nature of her offense is not the usual collegiate fare—drinking, drugs, graffitiing buildings, streaking across campus old school style—but social gathering. Where more than four or five are gathered together, there is reprimand. I’m not quite sure what planet I’m living on. Neither is she. We understand safety measures, but it is not good for man to be alone. That includes college freshmen. She will be back home though come Saturday, finished with her first quarter of college, a long break until January. She has only seen Arlo through a screen darkly, but this weekend face-to-face. It will be good for them both.

On Friday I had lunch with a client and her husband. We sat in a restaurant filled with appropriately distanced patrons and we visited maskless and I ate a cheeseburger while outside the restaurant window the small town’s employees strung Christmas lights on the street lamps. The sensual goodness of that hour felt so normal I thought I might cry. Then the very next morning I stood in line fifteen blustery minutes to get in the door of Costco, masked, and once inside very aware of a sense of almost-panic among the aisles as people stock-piled ground beef and toilet paper and bottles of wine. Moving from Friday’s cheeseburger to Saturday’s shopping was jarring. We, each of us, living between two worlds. Purgatory, for months now.

Today’s Word of the Day, according to the email I receive each morning, is littérateur—defined as “a person who is interested in and knowledgeable about literature.” The email I receive each morning gave an example of that word used in a sentence, but I don’t feel compelled to use the word today, or any day really. It’s nice to know, as a man interested in and somewhat knowledgeable about literature, but the word is too fancy for me, or at the very least too fancy for purgatory.

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  1. Alice Scott-ferguson on November 16, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Awesome beyond words!

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