When I take the dog out this afternoon, I cross the street and notice four adults standing at the front door to the nursing home. A woman in scrubs wraps a wool blanket around the shoulders of an older man sitting in a wheelchair. The other two push the chair into the sunshine. They bend from their waists to talk to him. Faces close together and intimate.
I smile. Not for or to anyone – but I smile.
Across the parking lot from them, two girls are drawing balloons on the sidewalk with purple and yellow chalks. They draw the stings all the way down the block – wriggling, crisscrossing strings attaching the balloons so loosely somewhere to something, the balloons surely don’t even notice their limitation.
Dandelions are already blossoming.
This all seems oddly normal. For a Sunday.
Though it’s not Sunday. And I can’t help but wonder what scenario is allowing this man visitors right now.
I wonder if these girls are sisters, or designated play partners for the lock-down.
I’m not smiling now, but I take a deep breath and feel the tension go.
Back in the house, Leonard lumbers into the library to press his broad forehead against mine. He does that when he wants a snack. His ear, and the right side of his snout are warm. He’s been lying in a patch of sunlight on the kitchen floor.
So I follow him back into the kitchen and give him a chew, as he’s trained me to do.
Then I stand on the patch of sunshine and tilt my face toward the window.
Always – this time of year – I feel the lack of sunshine as physical pain. No. It’s not the lack of sunshine, it’s a lack of warmth.
The sky is blue, and the flowers are blooming in bright blues and yellows and purples, but we are still on the edge of freezing. The wind still pushing snow flurries under my collar.
I need a run, but I’m still taking account of a swollen lymph node. So I settle for another cup of coffee.
Out the window I can see the man left alone in his chair now. Wrapped in a blanket, his face tilted up toward the sun.