We got our first shot. Getting it was a combination of seeking and serendipity. We were euphoric afterward but that feeling – that we could pack up the car and take off across the country – has been tempered by the new strains, the new ‘variants’ emerging everywhere. So, there remains plenty to be worried about, but that is our nature now. We have new meat to chew.
We now have someone who comes and clears the snow out of our impossible driveway and all the sidewalks. He came around midnight last night and I could hear the low and very distant-sounding hum of his snow blower. He is a veteran and a formerly incarcerated person and a profound and very intense political progressive and conscientious in the extreme so I feel lucky to have found him amidst all the companies who were too busy to talk to us.
We are facing a week to ten days of zero degree nights in Milwaukee and there are homeless people still left outside. There was a plan to put everyone in hotels but the hotels are full-up now. So, now the plan is to open warming rooms except that’s not so easy with COVID – you know, old churches and old buildings with ventilation systems from a few centuries ago and people sleeping head to foot on the floor. If you were homeless, what would you choose? Outdoors in the elements with a donated sleeping bag and a hundred layers of clothes or inside where it’s warm with people you don’t know who may or may not be wearing masks but will certainly be sleeping within arm’s reach?
I love winter and I love weather. I have that luxury. I go out, clad in solid gear, head to foot. And then I come home and take off layers so there is only a turtleneck and jeans left, the thermostat set to 65 degrees and blankets aplenty while I watch TV and see the streetlights catching the snow from my living room window. I have beaver mittens, my friends. And a home.
My brother has been gone a week. There were vast stretches of my life when my brother was gone from my life and me from his. But we set things to rights in one conversation. It made me recall a sign I saw on the freeway on my way to my father’s house after a long estrangement: “If you think it’s too late to make things right, you’re wrong.” I’ve learned that lesson now, twice over. Your turn.