I stood in front of the sliding glass door, tea and laptop in hand. My eyes narrowed to focus on what looked like large snowflakes; ash particles rained down and blew sideways. I write at the kitchen table instead. It looks beautiful out there. So ironic that wearing a mask is probably the healthiest way to be outdoors right now, just when many of us are already wearing masks for another reason. I will walk later. Neither human-caused or human-borne illness will keep me from time in nature. That’s a different kind of oxygen.

When I write, what comes up surprises me as much as anyone. I have no idea what I’ll say next. It’s tiring, since my inner editor stands at the ready. I point to the field and ask her to go check out a threat there. She’s off, sniffing suspiciously. I know for a fact there’s nothing in that field, not even dog poo, so I’ve got a just few minutes with you alone.

ARRGH. It’s an F-ing weird wild world out there. I tremble, excited to live and thrive just as I also long to hide under the bed. How can I handle these two selves, adjacent in my skin, slapping each other and nestling in?

I’ve never not been afraid and, as fear dissipates, that scares me too. It’s like taking the roof off. Or, the way children with a fence will play to the end of it, while children without a fence will huddle together in the center, unsure of what lurks beyond. It’s like that.

Watched the debate last night. I read a few headlines, curious what the nation thinks, and unfortunately, all the headlines are on the toddler, giving him attention for the behavior we wish to end. And the racist militias ready to murder in his name. I thought Joe Biden did a remarkable job staying calm and present. Christopher said that while practicing for next debate, Mr. Biden should have someone screaming at him the whole time.

Okay, America. I love you. I’m so sorry. And yet the sun shines and the birds sing loud and proud as if nothing is amiss. Meanwhile, my lungs burn and my chest aches. I thought I was getting sick today, like “what’s wrong with me?” Smoke is what hurts me— and the possible ending of an amazing experiment in democracy I’ve believed in, my home country.

Nick Kenrick, Flickr: I am a thousand winds that blow

I made up with my beloved this morning with a heart-to-heart solace of whooping and lovemaking audible at least on all four sides. Windows open to the world to hear Romeo and Juliet (mostly Juliet). Hopefully we’re blessed, not tragic like R & J, but in some ways all things are both, and we, we include ourselves in the mixture of creation. Love blooms, opening again and again. The heart is the most erotic organ.

Now Christopher stirs upstairs, with music and bed-making thumps. I turn toward the vegetables on the counter awaiting chopped and settled into a crockpot to simmer gently all day. Then work. A walk in the middle, peace. I am so lucky. My great good fortune, like our hearts, extends far as the wind.