I find myself sighing a lot lately. Big heavy sighs that can’t seem to expunge the helplessness and hopelessness that seem to envelope me more than any other time in my life. I love Autumn. I love the cooler days and nights. I even love the change of time and the early darkness. But everything is so different this year that the things I’ve always embraced I find myself dreading.
I’m writing this post a week before the presidential election and the thought of another 4 years fills me with nothing short of terror. The Covid numbers are still low in my state but they are rising as they are in nearby states where I have most of my family. I am questioning and tending to doubt if I will spend the holidays with my grandchildren who are at the best ages for holidays, live 10 minutes away and I hate to miss out but.. but..but it all just seems so damn risky.
Many mourn the loss of travel this past year. I’m much more homebody than adventurer so I’ve always loved the change of rituals that the winter months bring. Heavier blankets. The fireplace. Candles lit earlier. I like to cook more in the winter too, hearty stews and carb-loaded dishes. I knew I was in trouble when I downloaded a recipe for a rotisserie chicken and stuffing casserole. Quick and easy for the 2 of us with leftovers. With some nice Cabernet…mmm. My mind comes to a screeching halt. We can’t eat like this. After cutting back substantially on my wine consumption last Spring, I do not want to go down that rabbit hole again. And I don’t have a gym to go to to even somewhat mitigate the stuffing/butter/sour cream components of this dish. Every little thing needs to be recalibrated, rethought and reconsidered.
Time to change over the clothes. Switch from summer to winter. So many pretty things, sparkly and beribboned. Boots and booties and chunky suede heels. I sigh again. Big one this time. Rightfully so, the last of my ‘work clothes’ will be retired like I am and donated to charity. But what of the other cute things? The pretty sweaters, the red velvet tunic, bejeweled collar black pullover? I would wear these, I could wear these, but.. but.. there’s no place to go. There’s no new pub to explore, no museum to visit, no lunch to meet up with friends. Even my garden club meetings have gone to Zoom and at least that’s an excuse to put on some highlighter and mascara and wrap a silky scarf over the black Gap t-shirt. There’s no annual trip to Florida: our beloved friends with whom we always vacation won’t be wintering in Naples this year. Broadway is still closed. New York City hotels are so cheap right now but is it worth the risk? Is Amtrak worth the risk? Recalibrate. Rethink. Reconsider. It’s exhausting.
I cooked dinner last night: just some grilled chicken, roasted asparagus and some heated up left-over French fries. I made a discovery. If you put left-over French fries in the oven with the roasting asparagus they’ll crisp right back up. “Alexa, play Michael Jackson.” And if you dance around the kitchen while you’re cooking, life doesn’t seem quite so bleak. And if you text your daughter and tell her she needs to teach you some new dance moves because yours look like a tired old lady’s, you’ll both laugh. Watch a good movie with someone you love. It IS okay to have that glass of Cabernet. And maybe after November 3rd there’ll be one less thing to sigh about.