An Observation of Before and After

Before houses clogged my view, I used to sit on my front porch and gaze at the hillside in front of me. It was easy to take it all for granted, though I didn’t know it then.

I would watch the purple, green, and yellow ribbons of wild grasses sway and slice waving lines up the slope. I would watch mourning doves shoot into the sky and circle. I would see red-tailed hawks too, and hear as they screeched and wailed and played in the air.

Sometimes I still do.

Sometimes, in between jagged rooftops, I see the slight grassy grade–see the imprint of green move and bend in a random gust of wind. Sometimes, I see the shadow of a large bird, a circling kind that appears out of nowhere and skims the ground with its v-shaped wings rippling an image across gray, asphalt shingles, before it’s gone.

So much is gone, lately.

Gone is walking into a grocery store, unmasked and ungloved. Gone are the handshakes and hugs in public. Gone are opening night Movies in a theater, having dinner reservations, and waiting in long crowded lines to eat inside an Olive Garden.

Picnics with extended families, birthday parties, and going to the gym have vanished overnight. All end of year school festivals and locker clean-outs, yearbook signings, and Prom is no longer. Even walking across a stage to accept a high school or college diploma has gone extinct.

I have taken so much for granted–the thoughtless act of shuttling kids to school or the time of day when work is over, and the journey toward home begins. It’s gone.

I miss the sight of traffic on Friday nights, and the congestion at Mall parking lots or making plans to fly somewhere just because, just for fun. I miss the easiness of merely existing, without the threat of a cough, or suspecting a sneeze is lethal.

So much, it seems, is gone, now–my view of the grasses, sighting mourning doves, luncheons, dinner dates, and regular skin on skin contact. Even on my front porch, chairs are empty because I haven’t taken a moment to climb inside one and simply look up because so many things have changed, even me.

I miss the mundane. I miss the small things that I never, ever thought about. I miss the vague feeling of nothingness–no fear, or anxiety, or the caustic wait and worry of what will come next–just boredom. I miss it all.

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