in-between (itty bitty thoughts)
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There shouldn’t be snow on my pumpkins yet, but there is.
Yesterday I took a picture of my pumpkins on the front step
and saw the Buddha statue my grandma gave me.
Buddha is smiling next to the pumpkins covered with snow.
Which is totally a Buddha thing to do.
It’s early for snow.
It’s early for temps this cold.
Social media (no matter which platform you choose) feels like
a highway of billboards screaming people’s opinions and beliefs and
my god it does. not. matter. what side you’re on—
screaming your opinions
is still screaming.
And in person,
the mood in the grocery store
the post office
but no one is smiling.
(Or are they?
I can’t tell with all these masks.)
But a feeling is thick in the air.
People are angry and tired
and frustrated and exhausted in a
god, will we ever bounce back
kind of way.
And I don’t want to live in that.
But I also can’t live in a
magical sing-songy world of
unicorns, puppy dogs, daisies
freaking cotton candy and lollipops
everything is great!
everything is fine!
its fine, really.
So what’s the in-between?
Back inside the house my oldest says,
“if it’s gonna start looking like Christmas outside, I’m making egg nog.”
So he does.
I throw stuff in the slow cooker for supper.
I plunge my hands into the dishwater because it’s warm.
I find a recipe for pound cake.
I listen to the playlist I’ve named “Smile”,
because you can’t be sad when you listen to
or Get Rhythm.
You just can’t, you guys.
My oldest asks for help with a poetry assignment.
The youngest plays guitar.
My husband comes home from work
(outside in the surprise snow all day)
and we stand in the kitchen talking
as I stir supper.
“Your cheeks are red,” I say.
“I’m starting to warm up so I’m getting cold,” he says.
And we both laugh because
getting colder as you warm up sounds absurd
but we know it’s a thing
when you’ve been out in the wet snow all day.
I see his shoes on the boot dryer,
And it occurs to me
that maybe this is the in-between.
This daily life.
And I wonder
if we all made egg nog
and did the dishes
and listened to old music
and fed the stray cats
and read poetry with our kids
and listened to them play guitar
and held our spouses
and crawled into warm beds
after eating pound cake that was a little dry
would that make any difference
to the bigger picture?
Does the bigger picture even matter?
Or is life really just about
what happens in these four walls?
There’s more snow predicted today.
Eventually there will be enough snow
to completely hide the pumpkins and Buddha.
And I know Buddha will still be
smiling underneath the snow.
Smiling underneath because
I think he’s got something figured out
that most the rest of us just haven’t yet:
that no matter what happens,
you’re still in the midst of what happens.
casual and miniscule
is where all the answers are.
– Amy Dingmann, 10-20-20