Cloister Commentary, Day 33: It’s All One Day

To myself: “What day is it?” Me: “It’s all one day.”

We like to meditate with the window open, for the spring birdsongs. Beyond the birdsongs is traffic barreling down I-70. The birdsongs are like a veil; I fight to keep from mentally ordering the next few hours.

My project is moving in the lawn furniture and preparing the yard for our landscaper Deven, then putting out the garden hose and sweeping out the garage. Oh yes, and I really sweep out the basement.

Without the focus of a full-on job, my “ailments” become more noticeable: my tennis elbow, got from sifting litter boxes, is flaring up (I now sift left-handed), the calcium deposit in my palm feels bigger, why does my heel feel suddenly bruised, did I tear a ligament in my thumb, what’s that weird feeling under my rib cage, my nose is running and I have a slightly dry mild cough (it’s allergies)–am I officially old? Wait…also…I have an obtruding zyphoid process and encroaching hammer toes–is it all connected?

I need a nap in the afternoon. Instead I brew some Irish breakfast tea so I can keep reading.

A friend of ours from olden times named Greg used to magically and spontaneously create interesting meals for his family (and sometimes us) by just foraging through the fridge and throwing things together creatively. This is kind of what we do, and it is good, and I suspect it is a popular strategy for this longest of days.

Sharing crazy cat pictures was not enough to provoke comments from one of our favorite young couples, Patrick D and Mary Clare. Worried, we check on them. The future lawyer and current poet and teacher have been predictably laboring and scrambling, and they are OK. We just miss them.

Our series are ending (please put Ozark out of its misery!) or over. What next? Mrs. America–check. What We Do In the Shadows–check (GO FX!). But...the Jordan doc on ESPN? Fauda? Gomorrah? Babylon Berlin? The “Up” films, finally fully available on Brit Box? I feel like I am brainstorming upcoming units for a class.

Speaking of ESPN…I’m doing just fine without sports. Imagine that. I’m not sure I even need another face full of Jordan.

After 12 years of tormenting our sleep, our dog Louis suddenly decides he can crash alone and silent in the living room and hold his bladder for seven hours. A seemingly meager gift, but it is as from on high. Perhaps having his anal glands expressed was the key.

The spills, thrills, and chills of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place shuffle.

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

An exquisite pairing with the above.

Cloister Commentary, Day 4: A Marathon, Not a Sprint

This was a bit of a rough one. Nicole and I had decided several days ago to limit ourselves to two hours a day of COVID-19 news and research–this is a marathon, not a sprint–but it was difficult under the circumstances to disengage. The situation was not helped by a press conference we watched. The speaker was not the least bit inspiring, encouraging, or reassuring; in fact, he appeared unfamiliar with public speaking; inexperienced in either reading from a text or talking extemporaneously and authentically to his audience; at sixes and sevens when reaching for vocabulary (a septuagenarian, one would think by now, would have acquired a decent sized one by default); and unable to convince himself, least of all his audience, that his predictions about time were realistic. I felt shame and embarrassment for him (and us, to a degree), and as I reached for the remote, the local news station abruptly broke from the conference as if reading my mind. Oh yes, too, we were further depressed to see the agents of disaster capitalism stretching out their bony, abandoned-by-God fingers to claw more money into their coffers at such an opportune time (for them).

BUT. Simple pleasures.

Twining’s Irish Breakfast Tea (I have it in the afternoon). “Flipping the house”; we have a dog that’s hostile to cats upstairs and five cats downstairs, and we frequently reverse that. Starting new Benjamin Franklin-inspired journals. Reading about union victories in Chicago in the past–and yesterday (look it up!) Talking to a very cool teacher named Kelly Penn on the phone. Going for a walk in the sunshine. Eating very green and buttery peas for the first time in a long time. Finishing a book, and adding a new one to my stack, thanks to my ward councilman Mike Trapp. Admiring the parallel hijinks of Saul Goodman and Mike Ehrmantraut. And, of course, applying some musical salve…

Streaming for Shut-Ins: Thanks, Matthew, for the nudge! It’s not the full record, but the track is almost 25 (dazzling) minutes long. This musician evokes OTHER worlds: