If these are biscuits, it must be Friday.

On the way home from work last evening, I paused next to a tree in which I could see a resting egret.  I did not dare to get out of the car.  The creak of the door would startle the sleeping creature.  I strained to adjust the angle of my open side window to get a snap with my cell phone.  The distant noise of a truck approaching from the rear urged me to action.  I raised my phone and shot through the dirty windshield before shifting into drive.

Later I sat on the porch scrolling through my phone’s gallery.  A careless swipe took me back several months, to scenes in St. Louis and Kansas City during my spring visit.  Here is the Airbnb where I celebrated Mother’s Day with my son.  See the bookstore of my friends Will and Tom, the only retail establishment that carries my book.  Look, see the street on which I lived, down which I dare not drive.  Dusk gathered around me.  Finally I went inside, looking for dinner, for solace, for calm within the silence.  Eventually I slept.

Mid-morning found me on the road to Isleton, where I knew that I could get a fine tumbler of coffee and a life-changing biscuit.  Truth told, the Saturday coffee dates of my Midwest life have morphed into this ten-mile trip on Friday morning to the nearly deserted streets of the old town of my zip code.  A few stalwart entrepreneurs strive to raise the ghostly village from the dead; and I support that effort.  The fifteen-minute  jaunt seems a small sacrifice for delectable fluffy layers of lamination with clouds of tender dough.  Pleasant exchanges with Ruby and Aleida give me some small measure of the camaraderie for which I yearn.  It’s little enough; but something.

Later I sit in the gentle breeze beneath my ten-foot canopy, mug of dark roast beside a plate on which, I must confess, sits a small dish of orange jelly.  I’m a creature of habit, though I’ve had to shift my rituals so much in the last five years that I barely recognize myself.  If these are biscuits, this must be Friday, with the weekend looming.  I lift my eyes to the inside surface of the umbrella and see a tender shoot of vine overhead.  Something about its brave reach pleases me.  A hummingbird’s shadow flickers past.  I find myself suddenly tempted to smile.

It’s the eighteenth day of the one-hundred and sixteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

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