1. When this is finally over (‘The Virus’) as the little kids say, in a deep whisper, I will never say no to an invitation to coffee, or wine, or dinner or a party or even decorating the library for the holidays even though I’m not crafty at all and can’t untangle lights. I will be all in wherever people are.

Well, that’s what I say now, just like after I was runover by a truck, and recovered, more or less, and I vowed to slow down and appreciate the special moments more. To take naps, give more time over for doing nothing, hanging out, walking slowly with little children and older people. (Although Covid reports keep reminding me that I am old, since I’m over 60.) Of course I returned to full speed, but not entirely. I did soften up, a lot. I think I did slow, some, on alternate weeks.

Still, as the poet Jane Hirshfield writes ” How rarely have I stopped to thank the steady effort of the world to stay the world.”

In Haines the news is that moose hunting season began today, there’s a fire in the stove now but it will be warm and sunny by this afternoon and I’ll have to open the windows. Chip is up in his tree stand by our cabin, waiting and watching. He left the house at 4:30.Together we will either head up the river to our moose camp ( a tent) or to the sturdy cabin in the woods for a long weekend. I’m leaning toward the cabin, since the bears are everywhere and have been unpredictable. 17 have been killed in defense of life and property this summer, in town. A tragedy and a concern on so many levels. There are still plenty around though. When we weed whacked and brushed the trails a few weeks ago at moose camp there was bear sign everywhere, and we’ve rarely seen anything but a few prints in the mud up there.

The ┬áSeptember days have been perfect, and yet there is a sadness, for the communities and animals and woods and fields on fire and facing floods and winds. 200,000 dead. It’s all overwhelming.

So I’ve been making lists. To remind me of what I’m grateful for, and a few notes about those joys I don’t want to forget.

So what am I grateful for? Probably many of the same things you are.

1.My family and our health

2. The community of friends and good people I live with and the ones that are far away too

3. This place, the land, water, sky and all that live there

4.Love. I mean, really there is so much love right now everywhere, people being kind and good to each other, don’t you think?

I read about a Harvard study that followed a group of men for some 80 years, half Harvard students, half from the poorest parts of Boston, to determine what makes a successful, full life. In the end, the conclusion was meaningful relationships.

One thing I know, is that people connect best with each other when we are at our most vulnerable. When we are a mess and say so and someone else says, “Me too, want a peanut butter and honey sandwich?” Did you see those pictures of food tents in smokey parking lots where good neighbors were offering “free lunch” to evacuees? There is such a thing after all.

The difference between the real world and the social media world is that there, it is all hit and run, and here, where we are, the driver stops and helps you, and so do the volunteer EMTs and medivac flight crews, and the emergency room nurses, and surgeons in Seattle who don’t even know your middle name. They save your life.

Now, in this not-quite-an-emergency-room, when you are in a funk, it’s: How about some chocolate milk? I have whipped cream too, the squirty kind. Take as as much as you want. There are carrots too, from Sally’s farm, since ours didn’t grow so well, did they? Let’s sit in the sun and I’ll read you Sarah Plain and Tall again. Then you can tell me what makes you happy and that will make me happy.