Here I go walking in circles again. If it’s not one direction out my front door, it’s the other, always in circles, round and round the neighborhood, looping past the same houses, same yards, same trees.
Here I go nodding to the same people as I pass. The short round woman who keeps up a running one-sided conversation with her dog. The woman in the knee length down jacket, another in the bright blue sneakers, both of which I covet. The woman on her phone, the couple with their big black dog, the couple with their two big dogs, the man pushing a stroller with a toddler who solemnly stares as we pass, the woman who never looks up. Perhaps they’re thinking the same about me; there’s that woman in the same gray sweatpants, the same green puffy jacket, the same purple hat, oh wait no, it’s her other hat.
We do the same dance every day, one of us crossing to the other side of the wide streets without sidewalks to avoid the others’ space, nodding apologetically, or smiling, or grimacing a fake smile, commenting on the weather, saying with our eyes, here we are again, going in circles.
Here we go watching this pandemic circle, another virus spike, another virus slowdown, another round of lockdowns, another loosening up of rules. Another discussion about opening schools, and about how schools are or aren’t working, another set of parameters for when to re-open everything. Another group of people ignoring the mandates for masks, for gatherings, for openings.
Here we go wondering again, vaccines are coming, vaccines aren’t coming, oh wait we don’t have enough or we can’t get them to you or you’re not old enough or you’re not sick enough or you’re not on the front lines. We’ll soon figure out a system to get them to you, oh, there must be a system we can use, if only we could figure out a system. Who’s gaming the system? Does it matter? Oh wait, there isn’t enough to go around, or to get your double dose.
Here I go out to the garden to rake soggy magnolia leaves yet again, pulling errant weeds, picking up stray willow branches, sweeping stones back into place, admitting that I let my husband do the bulk of the work out there, or once again paying for it with aching joints.
Here we go in a political loop, another election, another run off, another celebration of one race, or mourning another. Another chance to restore democracy, another round of violence, another protest, another evil person doing evil things, another denial, another lie, another great speech, another promise.
Here we go again, another police shooting, another Black person down, another mistaken raid, another harassment, more racist, mysoginist, sexist, ageist acts, another protest and another, more tear gassing, another denial of rights, another “Karen” taking offense, another Nazi, another white supremacist, another Proud Boy, another Confederate soldier, another new hate group.
Here’s another round of doomscrolling, refreshing another news page or Twitter or Facebook, get to the bottom I go back to the top, the news has changed the news has changed the news has changed, it’s the same.
Here’s another mindless TV show, another rerun, another stab at getting exercise, another pint of ice cream, another attempt to eat better, or form new habits or better myself in some mysterious way or some specific way, another success, another failure, another try.
Here I go again writing another essay, spilling words onto the page, shaping words into thoughts, putting one thought after another, spelling and misspelling, rearranging, trying to make it make sense, or be readable, or relatable. Writing a poem or a song instead.
Here I go again thinking my words are great, thinking my words are shit, thinking I’m a good person, thinking I’m a bad person, thinking yes I can, thinking no I can’t, thinking how can I keep doing this. Another cycle of hope-loss-disappointment-prayer and try again.
There goes another morning, an afternoon, another day, another day with not enough hours, another day with too many hours, another week, another month in quarantine, more wondering about what have I done, where did the time go, what did I do with it, ah time for bed again, hooray.
Here we go, another winter, another rainstorm, another day of shape-shifting clouds, another sunrise of coral and lemon, another sun-drenched blue sky day, another few buds blooming on bare magnolia branches, witch hazel blossoms opening, and garlic sprouts popping up. Another crow alighting on the hemlock tree nearby, another robin on the cotoneaster’s brilliant red berries, another extra minute of sunlight, another spring lying dormant underground readying to burst forth. Another chance to meditate, another moment to breathe deep, another heartbeat, another moment unlike the last, full of potential and promise and hope.