I’m sitting on the hammock swing I got last summer, for the first time this year. A mourning dove just flapped its way into the one of the trees separating our driveway from the neighbor’s. I can hear the cars going up and down the nearby cross street and the sound of the power drill at the top of the stairs, where Mani is installing a baby gate in preparation for our puppy’s homecoming this week. It has been such a nice Shabbat.
I slept in till 8:30, which is late for me these days. The bliss of not setting an alarm is unique and feels like a luxury. When I got up, the coffee was already cold, so I poured some into a saucepan to heat it up. My middle sister texted me that she was heading out for a short walk with her two dogs. Did I want to come? Sure, I texted her back, sipping my coffee as I went to throw on yoga pants and a t-shirt. We met up in a parking lot, then drove in her car the short distance to a conservation area I’d never explored; it has a mile-long boardwalk through marshy, bird-filled woods and some open spaces, too, a beautiful place to start the warmest spring day yet.
Back at home, Mani was making food. I made a pot of oatmeal for myself, then went back to bed! I rested for an hour or so — Mani joined me for the last little bit — and then we walked to the farmer’s market in town. I had excitedly suggested we could get most of our veggies for the week there, not remembering that it’s still very early in the season! So we didn’t buy anything, but it was nice just to walk together — something I hope I never take for granted after Mani was essentially quarantined for the better part of the past few years.
When we got home, I grabbed the keys and we went to do errands, stopping for a chocolate Frosty at Wendy’s on our way to Home Depot. “Excuse me,” I asked one of the people wearing an orange vest. “Where would we find safety goggles?” Aisle 14 on the right, the salesperson told me.
Mani looked hot in her red t-shirt, the one I bought for her in Red Wing, Minnesota en route from the Minneapolis airport to the Wisconsin Unfurl Retreat last October. Clearly this needed saying.
Safety goggles in hand, we headed next to Whole Foods. Hint: Do not shop at Whole Foods when you’re hungry. Do not shop anywhere when you’re hungry. I wanted to buy everything in the store, but we managed to stick mostly to the items we’d gone in for — mostly the produce we need for the week, along with eggs, milk, cream, hummus, some yummy-looking salad dressing since I recently cleaned out the fridge and discovered that 100% of our condiments were expired, and of course a salted caramel at the check-out counter.
I am pausing to mention that another mourning dove is sitting on the seam of the neighbor’s roof, and our downstairs neighbor, who is nine, is eating cheese puffs and reading a graphic novel in a folding chair in the driveway. It is novel, still, to be able to sit outdoors.
When we got back from the store, I put away all the groceries and fell on some lunch. Then Mani hopped on the phone with one of her cousins, and I got into a cleaning fit. I vacuumed the stairs leading from the side door to our second-floor apartment, washed the dishes, cleared out and broke down some boxes from the pantry, emptied the trash and recycling, swept the floors, and filed a bunch of papers that have piled up over the past few weeks.
Whew. And now, I am here on the porch. Not a cloud in the sky. I said to Mani as I was coming downstairs, it’s one of those days you just want to have last and last, for no reason other than the ease of it.
We have tickets tonight to go hear Andrea Gibson, a spoken-word poet, at the Academy of Music. I’m sure it will be great, but we both had the thought of bailing in favor of getting in bed early to watch a movie. We are officially old.
Tomorrow morning, I will get back to work. I’ll send out a last-call for next week’s Pop-Up Microstory Group. For now, though, I will continue to appreciate this spring breeze.
Joke’s on me. Mani called me up to help her install the puppy gate, and we discovered after much frustration and one stripped screw that there are studs in the doorframe. Just ordered a pressure-mounted version, and listed this one on Craigslist! Sometimes the utterly mundane, daily details of life are worth noticing. Today has been one of those days.
The saying is that we “keep” Shabbat, but it’s more accurate to say Shabbat keeps us.