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Virus Without Borders: Chapter Seventy Six

Writing Our Own Headlines


I am the daughter of Earth and Water,

And the nursling of the sky:

I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;

I change but I cannot die.


-from "The Cloud" by Percy Bysshe Shelley



It's my husband, Jim's, birthday this week, a big one. We're having three celebrations, though we've had to postpone the live city gathering with his table tennis friends, and will have it on Zoom—an abundance of caution—until boosters, probably.


Jim is a tournament table tennis player and has been commuting to the city to play since he got vaccinated. An entrepreneurial coach opened ping "pods,"  limited in size, hepa filters, vaccination required. It feels safe enough for right now. Who knows when the abundance of caution will not be necessary? No one. Or, maybe it will continue to be necessary for a good long while and we'll just get used to it. Adaptation.


First headline of the day: Humans are adaptable.


I'm reminded that Jim, with one leg shorter than the other, is an (undetected) polio survivor. The left side of his body is smaller than the right, and despite a delayed diagnosis, numerous orthopedic problems over the years, and numerous surgeries, he's always been an active athlete. Needless to say, remembering the blessed advent of the polio vaccines, which came too late for him, he was first in line for the Covid vaccine. No anti-vaxxers in this house.


When he was a boy, Jim played the hoops at the local playground in San Francisco, and when I met him at UC Berkeley, he was into touch football.  I taught him how to play tennis and never got a game off him since. In London, he learned squash, then racquetball when we returned to New York, and now it's table tennis. He's watching the Olympic TT finals as I write. Table Tennis is an Olympic sport that amateurs play at tournaments into their 90's and beyond. 


Second headline of the day: Hit that ball right and feel joy.


Last night we went out to eat at a local restaurant with a scenic view of the Minnewaska Ridge. The sunsets are glorious up here in New Paltz, NY, and I caught a magnificent one on my iPhone. Jim complimented me on the composition, said I was a good photographer, but I demurred and said, "It's the iPhone camera."  I didn't know the scientific name for the clouds, but there was something about them that was familiar. I put a pic up on Instagram and FB and got a reply or two, then looked them up in my "cloud book" when we got home. I get swept away by new knowledge, never stop reading, or studying, or writing. Nor does Jim. Ours is a long marriage and I'm grateful I have a partner who enjoys sport, beautiful landscapes, the acquisition of knowledge, and writing as much as I do. He's a pretty terrific guy, gentle in nature, smart as all get out, and funny.


Last headline of the day: Happy Birthday to Jim. This Virus Without Borders chapter is dedicated to you.

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