All Summer in a Day

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At some point in late elementary or early middle school I read Ray Bradbury‘s short story All Summer in a Day and it has stayed with me more than almost any other short story. (I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream and The Nine Billion Names of God are two others and I guess you can see the direction of my misspent youth.) In the story, there’s only a very short time period when sunshine is visible on Venus, which has not too long ago been colonized by people from Earth. Miss that period and you’re out of luck for the longest time.

I was thinking about that story today.

Back in June there was a short period where COVID numbers were going down. People were getting vaccinated. It felt as if it were safe to start living again. I got together with my beloved family and with dear friends. I went to Wegmans. I watched one of G/Son’s baseball games. I went to an exhibit at the local museum.

And, then, the delta variant hit. I went back into semi-lockdown. Yes, I’m vaccinated (and now boosted). But I’m a breast cancer survivor who’s done chemo and radiation. I have some co-morbidities. Even breakthrough cases of COVID can leave you with long-term symptoms and I didn’t finally manage to retire just to get sick and disabled. My area is only 45% vaccinated (thanks, Trump!).

Since getting boosted, I’ve seen a few friends, had a few meetings of local politicos at my home, made one Wegman’s run. But I’m still being very cautious. And watching the numbers trend up, not just here, but in Europe (which is usually a bit ahead of us), I got to thinking about All Summer in a Day.

It may be that the “new normal,” at least for the next few years, is that we get a month or so in summer to more or less live as we did pre-COVID and that we then shut down again. I understand that a lot of people are just done. They’ve gotten vaxxed and boosted and they are tired of COVID and they are just going to live their lives and hope that if they do have a breakthrough case it’s not too bad. Who knows, I could get to that stage at some point. But, for now, I’m looking at another winter of isolation and trying to figure out how I use that to be the Witch of This Place.

In Bradbury’s story, Margot writes, “ I think the sun is a flower / That blooms for just one hour. ” Maybe Margot needed to learn to see beyond the sun. How does Margot stay unbroken?

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