Who knew that 2020 would be a wretched excuse for a year? The climate is collapsing. Half of the U.S. is burning down, another quarter is flooded … and we up here in the northeast are 10 inches low on rain. That is a lot of missing rain. Considering that we all live on wells — there is no “city water” here — we are at the point of fearing lest our wells dry up. Meanwhile, all over the world there is a slow-moving but lethal pandemic. It’s not speedy as the 1918-1919 flu epidemic was. It’s probably not going to kill half a million people, but it’s doing pretty well. Europe is beginning to see a resurgence. The rebound that everyone expected seems to be inching up on us. The U.S. has exceeded 200,000 dead as of today, which is the first day of the Autumnal Equinox. We aren’t into our “second wave” because no one is sure we’ve entirely gotten past our first wave.
The economy is in tatters pretty much everywhere and there has been an international rise of nationalism. Trump is the worst, but Boris Johnson isn’t far behind. Why is it that when the world is at its most fragile, the autocrats and dictators seem to crawl out of every corner. And for even more obscure reason, we (and I don’t mean me or you, but “we” in a far more general sense) seem to accept this as normal. Maybe not initially, but ultimately we get tired of fighting the battle to be free.
Are we free? When was the last time you felt a real sense of freedom? I’m 73 and I’ve been buried under financial, emotional, legal, and child-rearing issues for my entire life. I have cooked every night and am still mostly cooking. I’m worn thin. Yet between my feelings of loss for the world that used to be normal and my very real sense of despair that we are losing the wilds and even our weather, I have weird periods of optimism. Garry says he has this feeling he never loses that ‘something wonderful is going to happen.’ He doesn’t know what it will be, but something.
Today I learned that the prices of houses in this area have gone up by nearly 20% since last year. Why? Because people want to get out of the city, get out of the crowded suburbs. Get out of there little plots of lawn and garage and move to someplace where there’s room between them and their neighbors. In other words, here. It turns out that living in the boonies, which no one wanted 20 years ago is now what everyone wants. Houses just like this one are selling like well, hotcakes. I’ve always wondered where hotcakes are selling so well, but that is a question I’ll never get answered.
The problem is I don’t want to leave the neighborhood. For all the problems of living in a small town with too little business and far too few facilities, I love the wildness of it. I love fresh corn and the friendly cows and goats and horses. What I really want is the same house I live in, but flat. Without stairs. I’m not sure that this is a viable option, but not having those stairs to haul myself up — and Garry’s getting to the “hauling” stage himself — would make life so much easier for both of us. And I don’t want to lose my woods and my birds and my squirrels. Even though there are many repairs this house needs, it is still saleable now that we’ve installed a new boiler. The other things it needs are basically small, but that was a biggie.
So for all the terrible things that happen, some little piece of good happens too. It’s not a big thing. Not something ‘wonderful,’ but not bad either. It’s nice to be in the black (not racist, just bookkeeping) for a change. I’m not sure what we will do. My best guess is that we will stay here because we don’t want to leave the area and maybe getting a better chair lift would solve the problem. The idea of moving is terrifying anyway. I remember when we moved here thinking they will have to bury me here because I’m never moving again.
I guess we’ll see if that turns out for be true.