I started talking to someone again, and made plans to FaceTime her at 4. We hadn’t talked since last summer so she asked, how’s it going with your family, with the pandemic? I said it feels like the wheels have been coming off. She said we only get so many reserves in this life and the pandemic has been eating up a good portion of that, like Pac-Man gobbling away the edges. She made an exaggerated chomping face with her jaws but then the screen froze and I had to call her back on audio.
I lay in bed in the middle of the night thinking about that accident I had with the tractor. I guess you could call it an accident, I got tangled up in the netting on the sports court and the front two wheels came off the ground, tearing the netting and bending the metal handle that lifts the blade. It was kind of funny and stupid and happened the way things do in a dream when you see something bad bearing down on you but can’t stop it.
I lay there with the sound of dew collecting on the leaves and dripping off like static when the cable’s gone out and it’s just white noise. The moon was low and with the fog the night had a milky look to it. The tree frogs sang and my mind wouldn’t stop.
I had to start thinking more seriously about my health now that I was turning 50, how I wanted the rest of my life to look. There was a similarity between how I treated that tractor and how I treated my body and I’d probably go easier on both of them if I acted like I only had one for the time I’m here.
After we’d heard one of Trump’s senior aides tested positive I’d sent a dumb text on a group chat wishing he’d get it too and then woke to the news he had, and felt the way I did as a kid when they announced school was closed for snow, a cheap thrill that was short-lived but still felt invigorating. It had more angles than I could understand though, and I felt bad about feeling good about the news and then rationalized why I shouldn’t, and then felt bad again.
I lay in bed wondering what day it was, thinking even if we hadn’t been infected by the virus we’d all been affected by it somehow. I saw polar bears on melting ice caps and felt like all of us were on separate patches of shrinking earth too, floating on the top of a cold dark sea.
From our driveway I’d take the tractor up the hill toward the neighbor’s house, past the play set and trampoline. The play set hadn’t been used in years but would likely be there until the day we moved out a good ten years or more. We didn’t have fences between our yards and the land sprawled out with the large pines above, so the sun came through nicely as it set. There’s a cup holder in the tractor and when I first got it I thought it would be fun to cut the grass with a can of beer but it wasn’t practical to do so since the tractor bounces around a lot and the beer inevitably spills.
Tomorrow I’ll get up at the same time and then jump in the car and head east over the mountains up the valley to meet Brad and then hike to that alpine lake where the Golden Larch turn this time of year, and camp for the night. This life of ours is the greatest. And while I like to believe otherwise, it’s probably the only one we get.