Why wait for the dust to settle? Here are 10 bullets from my end.


  1. Would love to get back to another personal routine that’s somehow fallen by the wayside: sitting abed and “simmering” each morning with a cup of coffee to accompany some reading or just my own thoughts. Rather than popping right up and getting in gear. Theologian Howard Thurman was a big advocate of the practice and its reversal in the evening.
  2. Do have the indolent luxury of hiding out in our third-floor guest room (a.k.a. crafts room), opposite my studio, maybe even allowing a whole thick novel to wash over me as I read if I’m not napping there. It’s the room up there that gets direct sunlight, unlike my north-facing studio.
  3. Forsythia, which she insists are as hardy as weeds, are in danger of blooming too early. One more sign of disaster we’ve observed. We’re watching them, all the same, to bring a few sprigs in to force into flower sometime approaching Easter.
  4. Returning to the memory of hitchhiking – giving a lift to others when you can or extending their generosity, in some manner – suggests compiling a long annotated list of our experiences and what we learned, pro and con. Maybe as Letters to Youth from a retired hitchhiker or a way of finally gleaning some wisdom in reflecting on the era. Yes, it could be giddy but also risky. And I’m not the one to see it from the “hippie chick” perspective. Anyone else want to rise to the challenge?
  5. We’re well into sauna season, the little cabin at the edge of the pond. I’m still not breaking the ice for a dip. Let the younger, more foolhardy guys to that. No, there’s no reason for us geezers to tempt cardiac arrest.
  6. Curiously, I don’t seem to be getting any more done in my personal pursuits than when I was working fulltime. Or was I really neglecting a lot more then than I remember?
  7. February is such a short month, especially for those of us who have legal obligations to fulfill – car inspections and new tags, for instance. And then there are all those monthly payments coming due the equivalent of at least a weekend earlier.
  8. Quakers traditionally eschew a liturgical calendar, preferring instead that every day should be holy. Not that we commonly manage that. But that doesn’t preclude some of us from voluntarily taking up disciplines that would be mandatory in other denominations. For example, my wife and I customarily delve into Advent and Lenten readings and abstain from alcohol for those periods. (As a practice, it’s good to be able to say “No” and stick with it, especially when it comes to temptations like my martinis.) This past Advent we engaged Eastern Orthodox “fasting,” realizing a vegan diet would fit the rules if we eliminated oil on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, apart from the fish allowed on weekends. The avoidance of meat was no problem, but we really missed the cheese and eggs, which many vegetarians allow, and I nearly added milk to my coffee more than once. Almond milk, by the way, is a fine substitute, but I also gained an actual fondness for black coffee. So much for the sugar. Still, it’s surprising how many labels I began reading – cookies, chocolate – and found offending additives. With Orthodox Lent beginning February 27, we’re looking at even stricter rules. It’s what she describes as being a tea-totaling vegan with no olive oil. We really have to admire all those who take this in stride.
  9. And any day now we’ll be invaded by ants. They seldom wait for mid-May.
  10. We’ve seen too many who shout “law and order” turn out themselves to be lawless and disorderly.


You know it's a cold morning when you look out the window and see this. Especially when all the other neighbors are in the same boat.
You know it’s a cold morning when you look out the window and see this. Especially when all the other neighbors are in the same boat.

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