The desert is hardly deserted, at least the one that is rimmed by the San Jacinto mountains in Southern California, where two of our grandchildren, unbridledly joyous 4 and 6-year-old girls, live.
Untrammeled joy, however, was not our lot last week inasmuch as an 11-year-old grandson who lives in northwestern Ohio underwent at the same time a severe Covid-caused trial ultimately overcome only by astute medical intervention and his characteristic bravery.
Such vivid examples of joy and suffering, and the love that attends them, and has you praying that Mary and Lucy’s joy will never end and that Max’s suffering will, makes one yearn for torpor, a state in which I find myself this morning, especially having been told on the eve of our flight home that my deadline had been moved up three days, thanks to Thanksgiving no less.
Joy, suffering, and love followed us out to California — vacationed with us. No matter how glistening and stain-free one’s accommodations, no matter how foamy and warm the poolside spa, no matter how bounteous the supermarkets, no matter how seductive the evenings, no matter how frosty the air-conditioning, there’s no escaping the human condition, it seems, even in Palm Springs.
So, one must make the best of it, as we intend to do this Thanksgiving, with glasses and voices raised among the fallen leaves.
I think I may make a toast, then, to the children, whose spirits teach us and touch us, whose qualities endear them to us, who make us want to be worthy of them.