Day 487, October 25, 2021
What the Future Will Bring
Some days seem more apocalyptic than others. I make it to this point in the evening and wonder what it is I am documenting. I’ve been dealing with some ornery and bracing health issues, that my doctor now thinks is now narrowed down to shingles. This morning I peed in two cups and gave blood again. Students are struggling in some pretty profound ways. Plus, it was rainy and cold.
I feel a little like Kirstie Alley’s character in Cheers, who says she is not going to complain (I’ve tried to make this blog about not complaining), and then whines intolerably. Even my fire in the wood stove was slow to start, breaking my streak of effortless warm evenings.
But the fire has caught now, and in a few minutes I’ll have to get up to turn down the damper. I’m home and sitting in a comfy chair, I can almost close my eyes as I sit here and feel the day ease away. When I was a child, all along one wall of my bedroom, at the top edge where the wall met the ceiling, I had a series of lunar photographs. They were high quality prints taken from a moon landing that one of my parents’ friends had given me. They were carefully packaged in a heavy cardboard sleeve. I remember the feeling of sliding them out, looking at the images one by one, wishing they could match my imagination of space travel and the novels of Tom Swift. The reality for a young boy who mainly inhabited fantasy, was that the reality of space looked desolate and lonely. It looked like a place where there was a deficit of imagination. There was not one space creature or spaceship in any of the images. I remember once they were mounted on my wall with little inverted circles of Scotch Tape, that I almost never looked at them. I think I might have avoided looking at them to avoid getting sucked into that loneliness, that failure of imagination.
I thought I turned the damper down too early, but I just saw the hint of a flame. I think the embers are still burning in the darkness. I can hear the metal ticking as it expands. I picked good pieces, a solid piece of maple, a solid piece of oak, and a smaller oak slice that tapered delicately to long edges of an obtuse triangle. They should all burn and create a toasty foundation for the rest of the evening.
I have been resting more, slow to get up in the morning. Weekends, that I counted on for working mornings, have slipped away more tenuously. I can be a brutish, obstinate fellow, so I barrel onward through my tasks each day, but I am more tired and tender. I touch the small of my back repeatedly and test the skin running down one leg with a gentle touch. It becomes easy to conflate every ailment and cough into one and the same thing. I think I am beginning to feel better. It is hard to tell. But one day soon I will be fine. It will be hard to remember what it felt like.
Take care and be well,