Havre Daily News - News you can use

The Postscript: When every day is Sunday


Last updated 12/31/2020 at 8:17am

This week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a strange time, a time when every day feels like Sunday.

This morning, I made a big mistake. I checked the temperature. At 10:00 it was 42! That means in the coldest hour of the early morning, it was near freezing. How can that be? It didn’t feel that cold when I walked out to my bodega. I wasn’t cold until I looked at the thermometer on the outer wall.

My ceramic heater is swiveling back and forth, the setting on Hi. I’m not sure if that is a temperature or a greeting. Hi. Hi. Hi.

My little brick house, planted in the midst of my garden paradise, is built of one layer of brick on brick on brick, no insulation or even stucco to sway the seasons into a fantasy of warmth. When I say I live outdoors, that is truth in several layers.

I have no problem with maintaining fresh air exchange. My windows are so loosely settled into the brick, Santa Claus slipped through the edges along with the wind.

Around 10:30 I scoot outside to sit in the sun, a sun willing to bake me warm, no matter what the thermometer reports. I drape a scarf loosely over my head and shoulders to keep from burning to a crisp. I’m there just to warm my bones. Hey, it is a delicate balance.

I go inside to finish a chore, to sweep the floors, to make a meal. What can I bake today? The oven helps heat the house. Lemon cookies? Banana cake? Apple pie?

I’ve noticed a strange phenomenon during this pandemic. Not that it is caused by the pandemic, just that I never noticed it before. My clothes seem to be shrinking. Probably from hanging in the direct sun. Let’s face it. They just don’t make clothes like the good ol’ days. What?

The warmth pulls me back out the door as though I’m attached to the sun by a long rope. I deadhead the daisies. I stop to admire the two red lilies, sole survivors of the plague which wiped out all my amaryllis, all my bulb plants two years past.

I move to another corner of the yard and partridge doves gather, unconcerned, near my feet. Kiskadees fly from tree to tree while gold finches, or small birds that look like a gold finches to my untrained eye, dominate the flowering bushes. Wherever a flower blooms, there is a hummingbird. They’re not shy.

What is this in-between time? What is this strange lethargy that has me locked in its thrall? I have projects lined up. In my limbo of laziness, I leave them, rejected, ignored, abandoned, though temporarily.

What I am really avoiding is the battle being fought in the background of my mind. Of the few of us who are here this winter, my coronavirus safety rules are the strictest. I think about these things in the dark night. Not often. But they make my list.

Here I am the only single person. Everybody else, like animals on Noah’s Ark, go two by two. Negotiating one’s way through a pandemic is definitely easier with two. Well, I think so.

With the COVID upsurge, I’m contemplating a strict January lockdown.

One part of me says, no more patio visits, careful as we are. The other part of my mind rebels.

I love visiting my friends and it hurts to have a mere few minutes conversation through bars of the wrought iron gate while others are gathering on the patio, sharing food, music and celebrating the season.

The really ugly part of this decision-making quandary is that at heart, I am a people pleaser. I want to sit on the patio, yours or mine, and gab for hours. I want you to like me. I don’t like for you to raise your brow in judgement.

In my imagination I see the various bubbles mingle. The bubbles of a couple who have no boundaries. The bubbles of others who have restrictions with exceptions. Each bubble holding, overlapping, mingling more people.

I know me well. I know how my mind works. The minute I say, OK, I will let down this boundary because she is my cousin, or let down that restriction because I really like them and know they are careful or fudge this rule a little here because I know they mean well. Then my mind, in a fit of what’s-the-use, will throw up its hands and say, “Might as well party.”

So I’ll attach a mental padlock to my gate. For now. For January. I hate this. It is hard.

Christmas is behind me. New Year’s Eve is here. I’m not recapping my year. I’ve no insightful predictions for the future. I make no resolutions.

What’s to complain? Every day is Sunday.


Sondra Ashton grew up in Harlem but spent most of her adult life out of state. She returned to see the Hi-Line with a perspective of delight. After several years back in Harlem, Ashton is seeking new experiences in Etzatlan, Mexico. Once a Montanan, always. Read Ashton’s essays and other work at http://montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com/. Email [email protected]


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2021