Our neighborhood during the time of COVID19

A small tribute

For months and months prior to the eruption of the SARS-CoV-2 in China, right here in my hometown so far away, life felt off. Nothing was particularly negative, other than our dire American politics, yet I felt a malaise hanging over the world. And, it was with these manifestations: fires in Australia; polar ice melting at tremendous speed; continual war with refugees fleeing to any port of safety; dire hunger and poverty exploding in Venezuela, on and on. Yet, here I sat in my tiny space where all was well. Unease hung in the air around me. I could not help wait for the other “shoe to drop.” It did. COVID19.

Today, at the rise of this pandemic, I remain sitting in my tiny space, but I venture out, too. The malaise has dissipated; the unease is gone. There is something to be said for meeting your foe whether it is the tangible or intangible. And, I am not alone. My neighborhood is responding with generosity and love in the myriad ways of mixed generations with their talents and inventiveness.

Shared below are a few expressions of caring. I urge you to look to your neighbors, whether suburban, city or rural and count the many ways that caring is demonstrated by others.

Impromptu concert
A windy day for lost toys
Friday-distancing Happy Hours, painted rainbows, Teddy Bear hugs, treasured figs, Flowers from faith, and sweet cats both real and painted, and cookie recipe!

Poetry from the porch #2

Kay’s Trees

There is no fairness with life and death,
       only its impersonal surges and slumps.
Sometimes, no oftentimes, middle ground swells.
The majestic trees know nothing of this. Upwards
     they climb.
They know nothing of justice. They seek this alone -
     to kiss the
Written for K.T., a friend; given other circumstances, I like to think that we could have been Dear friends.

Hoeft, B. TreeS. Meares Island, in Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island, Personal email, 2019.



My sisters’ visit for the week, a month ago, fills me with longing for their return.

This autumn morning thoughts take me through a winding path along the word-filled avenue of  “sibling.” Defined as “one who is of a kin to another,” according to the OED, I read through the etymology and variations. Boldly stated are references to “sibling rivalry” and to “1974  ‘J. Melville’ Nun’s Castle vii. 153   Siblings and kinsfolk did not have to be friends.” And yes, siblings are morphologically very similar”  …I would add, sometimes.

Yet, there is nothing to indicate that “kin” are or should have emotional ties to each other – certainly not positive ones. Why is this?

Our visit together. The week drifted by rather quietly. Visiting bookstores and reading. Meditating at the Freer Museum, then rummaging through $1 rings of cloisonné in the gift shop. Each of us choosing a color. Each with differing skin tones. Each, different tastes. Mementos. Memories. Bonding. This, followed by a quick meet-up with the nephew. Our future.

The sisters together, 2018, Washington, D.C.

Eating, napping, crossword puzzles and TV mystery series ad nauseum, followed by more eating (much thanks to the husband who cooks!), and walks.

Always walks.




The closeness among my sisters and me is the legacy our parents handed down to their children – to their three girls.

three sisters
The sisters together, 1979, Washington, D.C.

Living within this triangle of sisterhood for a lifetime, it is the bittersweet touchstone to my past and doorway to a joyous present.  My Pamela, ten years the elder, with her love of the moment,- this moment – and her openness at inclusion; my Sandra, the middle one, with her sensitivity to everyone – her generous spirit.

Perhaps it is time to refer to “sibling harmony” or “siblings in accord,” rather than that singular noun with its negative connotation.  Yes?

Melville, Jenny. The Nun’s Castle. Romance Book Club. 1974. Print.

Friendship & the small box

Au revoir

Summer.  I dislike it.   Nine o’clock this morning I am awake, but motionless.  Our gentle, orange tabby taps my face with is velvet paw. Already humid with incessant sun, the insects are tedious with their constant presence.  I take my morning coffee indoors. Entombed in my closed, cool studio, I feel uncomfortable.  No, it is not a lack of comfort – too superfluous – it is loss.

cafe2A forty-year friendship was packed up carelessly today.

Thrown willy-nilly into a small box to be abandoned at the curbside. Three decades of champagne toasts and Christmas treats, countless drives along the dull, Pennsylvania interstate to share in a  “sisters’ visit”, belly laughs, and silliness with midday trips pushing strollers laden with croissants and juice boxes along concrete sidewalks  – now still.

Then, a decade of letting go, “keeping in touch” insinuating itself between us. Stealing intimacy. Sharing an occasional cafe seated at your kitchen table. Bon mots sprinkled generously along with the sugar.

I am not blindsided, dear friend, clutching the box of memories against my heart.  I am, simply, bereft.