I had assumed I’d finish off my book this morning. Less than one hundred pages left, I feel like I’ve been reading it for a while. I might begin to read on a different theme after this book. Is that why it's taking me so long to make it through this collection of short stories? Fuzzy morning, I’ve got to get some contacts in so I can see. Toss some bird seed out there, off the porch. Make a pot of coffee. The cushions on the couch are all moist. It won’t be any good sitting out here just now. I’ll move this chair over to the where the sun is beginning to appear.
A buzz in my pocket and a reminder suggests I have a call on the calendar for thirty-minutes from now. Saturday morning? It was my friend, certainly who picked the time. And soon I’m out on my porch swiveling in my chair speaking to someone back in Tel Aviv. He’d just taken a drive today not far from Masada where we’d visited and he toured us across the country. And for not the first time this week I’m catching up with someone who is emerging from the quiet of Covid, taking the time to understand their navigation of the shoals.
He’s a good listener and asks wonderful clarifying questions when I try to explain what I see happening in China that forces me to sharpen my own thinking and state what I think more clearly for myself. I talk about a chance to return to Israel for another visit. He is also thinking of coming to New York. I consider the extraordinarily historic day trip we took, passing the oldest walled city in the world, the place where John baptized Jesus, where the Romans stormed Herod’s fortress, while staring up at the Mohonk Guest house and suggest, well, we won’t exactly be able to match that line up we also have some nice things to consider form the more recent human epochs.
Later in the day, my wife and I drive up Catskill, New York, where I have never been before, two exits up north from us on the New York State Throughway, still in Ulster County. It’s a handsome road out there, and his family house has a big piece of land and a pond. I haven’t seen his kids in four years or so, and they are lovely, inquisitive, gracious in a way that seems pronounced viewed as the parents of two teenagers. Ahh, it was nice. We drove around his property, identified frogs on the Seek app, watched Cosmos on an outdoor projector and ate some really juicy steaks and sweet-as-can-be crème brule, and reckoned with them, who’d been back from China as long as we had, just what it meant to be so far from home.