Asked by an interviewer recently if I could describe the two Covid years in one word, I replied, “Constraint.”
“All of a sudden,” I wrote in a March 2020 column, a few months before I was furloughed, “it seems everything is off-limits. It’s hard to distance oneself socially if socializing within six feet is one’s job and has been for the past half-century. . . . I am at loose ends.”
Happily, during those five months out of work I felt at least semi-useful, thanks to Kathy Kovach, who urged that I spend my furlough getting together columns for a book, and thanks to Mary, without whose interplay I am not me. She’s in Florida this week, a state Kathy calls “Centereach with palm trees,” but I trust that the warmth there will de-congeal her frosted blood, and that we should be into spring when she comes back. Which reminds me I should rake the leaves.
I wrote last week that it seems we’ve begun to come out of our cocoons, and I trust that will continue to be so, although thinking of spring and of less constraint when it comes to living one’s life unavoidably collides with the chagrining knowledge that Putin continues as of this writing to slaughter without constraint in Ukraine. It is hard to think that we can shed constraint, that we can view winter as really being over, until he is stopped.
That we, the people, could even think of electing again someone who shares the Russian dictator’s vicious, rapacious turn of mind, and who professes to be an admirer of his, is chilling.
But still, spring is in the air here, and it is pleasing to be out and about, doing what I have for many years done, which is to write about kids at play. There were about 100 of them on the high school’s turf field Monday, the first day of spring practice — 40 or so, girls and boys, running on the track, and 51 — yes, 51 — out for girls lacrosse, enough for five teams.
Clearly, East Hampton’s young people are ready to live unconstrainedly again. And I with them.