while you’re away

I made the bed, even straightening your side so your pillows are propped and fluffed.

I made coffee the way you like it, one scoop for each cup. I wasn’t sure what to do with the extra at first, but I drank it on your behalf.

I ate more potato chips last night than I should have, but the same amount of beer.

I went on a long run this morning, and even though you weren’t here to tell me so, I was still careful. I didn’t see any snakes, and I didn’t do anything stupid.

I am better with you here, but even with your absence I embrace the standard you’d promote. I’ll take care of the dog, the kid, the garden. I’ll mow the lawn and vacuum the house before you’re home, whether these really need to be done or not.


third quarter

This morning, waiting for the bus, the moon emerged behind clouds at just past three quarters. It was as if to say, “remember that time?” about three weeks ago since the eclipse, a mountain pass, being on the improbably straight, narrow line from Sun to Moon to self to mountain to Earth. Seeing the receding sliver that moves towards another new moon, another new cycle — it’s like watching a friend recovering from some major event, maybe a surgery or maybe a birth or maybe a backpacking trip through the mountains. You can say “remember that time?” but it’s not about “that time,” but who you are now compared to who you were before that moment, and look at how the world is still spinning and we’re all still here, celestial and otherwise. A phase of the moon, inching its way across a vast sky, creates my own connection back to that so-recent-but-so-distant memory, and makes it more real. It’s a gift while waiting in the dark for a bus at 6:30 AM on a Thursday.


The second student coming up to me after class today prefaced her question: “So this is kind of random. It has nothing to do with physics.” I smiled and told her that was fine, intrigued. “Are you a runner?” she asked.

It’s true, I am a runner. I wondered how she could tell. The spring in my step? My lean, rugged physique? Endurance or a general radiant quality? Or maybe I’ve passed her on the trail — she looked familiar.

“I just knew that only a runner would wear a watch like that,” she explained.

But, I’d like to think that it was especially noticeable because of my endurance, the spring in my step, and quite possibly my athletic physique. She didn’t say otherwise.