Been kind of speechless lately- maybe because I’m from the Thumper school of thought that says “you don’t have nothin’ nice to say, don’t say nothin’ at all.” Or maybe it’s all the noise that I’m surrounded by- literal household noise, yes, but also that of constant news reports, trying to be helpful but yet unvetted social media shares, zoom meetings, influencers peddling petty products, cancellations, uncertainty, politics, politics, politics. I haven’t wanted to add to the noise that I can’t be the only one suffering under.

Maybe I’m speechless out of respect for the (until recently) unimaginable loss of life, loss of simple freedoms, loss of innocence because it’s hard not to be woke to the fact that our “United” country has two faces (at least).

I know I’m being rendered speechless by my aging and mortality- which hasn’t been so insistent a force in my mind since I was three and watched Charlotte’s Web for the first time, asking my mom if I would die too like the nice spider. I feel that mortality in the strobe light passage of time as I watch friends’ children reach their teens when I could swear they were in kindergarten only yesterday, and as my daughter prepares for a “pomp-and-circumstance-less” graduation. And the inevitable worry creases deepen and I avoid the mirror in bright light.

So if I’m speechless a little longer, no worries- I’m still here. Perhaps out for a morning walk- just myself and the birds- or focusing on doing right by my students as best I can from a distance and with a voice that’s text rather than the rising and falling notes that make up the song of classroom discourse. Otherwise, I’m probably wandering around the yard watching the spring flowers grow and develop, just doing my thing and trying not to add to the noise. -A.


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