The nasturtiums on the balcony are looking puny. The sweet potato vines are, too. I have dried all the hydrangeas that will fit in vases, and the August drought has set in.

What an odd summer it has been. Is the pandemic over? In July, it was a resounding “YES!” Now, just a few weeks later, we aren’t so sure. All those customers who were so brazenly mask-less at the grocery store are now masking up once again. I am so glad that I didn’t throw away our cache of masks; I almost did, but thought better of it.

Anxiety has returned. I am worried about my grandchildren, who are too young to be vaccinated, going to school. My grandson told me over FaceTime today that he “will probably get the Delta variant.” He is 7. Way too aware. It made my heart clench.

We are living pretty much as we have. My husband assures me that he is wearing his mask when he goes to church and to his other activities, so I have to trust that he will be fine. I certainly put my mask on, even to walk down the hall to the trash room. But I wonder how much longer this surreal way of life will continue. What will happen at Christmas? Will we be able to fly to California? Or will we have to spend another holiday, just the two of us, awash in bleakness?

I try not to be furious with those who have chosen not to get vaccinated, but it is hard to watch the news about exhausted hospital workers and not get mad. Then I realize that a lot of them have chosen not to get the vaccine, and I just don’t get it.

In the mean time, I plod along, working on “at home projects,” looking out the window, and wishing that life from the “good old days” would return. It never will, will it?

None of us who have lived through this will forget it. Our fears may remain for months or years. Will we ever shake hands or hug without first considering if it is a good idea to do so? Will standing close to another person seem somehow ominous? Will sourdough bread ever be free of negative associations?

I hate staying home. But I don’t want to go anywhere, either. And I admire the brave souls who are out in the world, going on with things.

How long will it take for me to join them?


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