I walked a long way today. Tired of going around the track close to my home, I walked down to the river. I sat watching the grey, rushing water hurrying along. Sometimes it is a comfort to me that the river flows away day and night, summer and winter, distinct from our worries and yet interwoven with our lives. It was cold comfort today. I returned through my little working-class neighborhood and was shocked at all the doors that were closed to me. When the pawn shop is closed in a neighborhood like mine, there is a big problem. Bars, nail salons, cafes and hair-dressers – all closed. The Catholic church, the mosque and the Hindu temple, all within three blocks of each other bore a government message that they were closed because of the virus. Even the Ville Emard Social Club where Italian grandfathers drink coffee and discuss who knows what for hours and hours …closed.
Some few things were open though. A star magnolia had opened its flowers to a darkening sky. Not a green leaf to be seen but the hopeful blooms were a boon to several bees hovering about. A little further along, I saw some groceries on a low wall in front of an ordinary house. A sign said – “food – take it – as needed”. No need to ask, to explain. There was something wonderfully open about that too. Nothing very organized or formal, just a human being who thought someone might have no work, be worried about how to feed a kid. It was as hopeful as the magnolia tree.