What’s in front of us

A man yelled out to me while headed for the shelter kitty-corner to my home. “It’s gonna be coming back with the fall leaves and hit harder ’round Halloween,” he said, a mask half-dangled in front of his mouth. “Why’d them Chinese make this when they already got us buying all their stuff at the Dollar Store?”

I was head down, maskless. A gust of wind had blown the outer door of the house open. I was thinking that wood putty and longer screws could stabilize my home. I should have answered the man but wasn’t sure where to start.

“You know we’re all going to get As for this year,” my eighth-grader told me when he woke up around noon. How did he know this? He had picked it up from his friends playing Fortnite.

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I listen in on him playing at night. One can tell immediately that everyone’s having fun and interacting at the peak of their online powers. Interaction may be the ultimate for human smarts.

My wife spent the morning on a community-board Zoom session. Agency representatives and local activists were making plans for neighborhood programs over the coming months.

City and county coffers are likely empty for the coming term, maybe the coming years. Lots of cuts coming. Were previously discussed or announced programs progressing or stalled?

Everyone’s reacting to what’s in front of us now. Swept up into the same basic story, we’re bumping up against each other searching for better narratives, different denouements.

I shifted my desk from the dining-room table, where I looked out on our back yard and its squirrels, to the window in my office. I watched birds and the movement of traffic down Myrtle Street (there wasn’t much).

A bird bounced before my eyes, carrying its own truth.

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