As a cool, dampish week transitioned to a hotter, sunny weekend, we passed through what seemed to me on Friday evening a moment of perfect balance. Comfortable, perfect for a dinner on the screened porch. Looking out, as our little retreat became enveloped in velvety twilight highlighted by pinpoints of hundreds of firefly lights, evoked in my mind the words “luxe, calme et volupté.” It’s a phrase I first encountered over 50 years ago in a college course on Baudelaire and his fellow 19th century romantic poets.
Perhaps the phrase (there are several viable translations, but for these purposes I would say “luxuriance, calm, and voluptuousness or desire”) was so appealing to focus on because it so contrasted with how I felt. With a throat ravaged by a mild case of COVID, I could be more aptly described as “red, raspy and raw”. There’s nothing either luxuriant or calm about such a state; I was too listless to feel desire.
Yes, after dodging the virus for over two years, Éric woke up with symptoms one morning suggesting that a test was in order. Soon after he tested positive my own symptoms and a positive test ensued. Like so many of us, we now see the infection as inevitable and as unlikely to be avoided as the common cold. If Dr. Fauci could test positive, surely it did not reflect badly on us to have been infected as well.
Éric and I isolated together to support each other as our symptoms permitted. As Éric put it, “Little did we know that, like fireflies, we were flashing “on and off” our mild symptoms; promenading our spirits, accordingly, on highs and lows and trying to make the best of it. The words of comfort and practical advice from our loved ones and the undeniable realness of farm work made this week more like the prosaic Zola than the poetic Beaudelaire.”
It is never convenient to get sick and especially not to isolate. My friend Paul had returned for a visit, intent on helping me make up for the time lost on barn painting to get the garden fully planted. I had to evict him just after he finished planting the first flat of peppers, and I was not in shape to continue the campaign on my own. We had planned a special dinner this week to introduce Tom, my newest friend of one year vintage, to George, my best friend of 53 years. Canceled, to great disappointment all around.
But in the big picture, these are minor inconveniences. I count my blessings. I was privileged enough to avoid exposure by working remotely when the virus was at its most lethal. “Front line workers” who from economic necessity had to keep serving the public in person had no such option. I benefited from the development of vaccines that blunted the virus’s effects. Vaccines have, at far less cost than natural infection and the million American deaths it caused, transformed the disease from a frequently lethal one for people of my age to something that often seems to most resemble a bad cold or mild flu. I was lucky to have had my last booster at the end of May, meaning I was infected at the peak of my resistance.
My friend and frequent farm-sitter Steve, who suffered with long COVID for many months after becoming infected in the first vicious New York City wave of March, 2020, responded to the reports of our illness by saying “”When I hear of these mild cases, it just blows my mind. Sick for a week? Maybe I’ll work in the garden? Vaccines are miracles. I’m glad for your mild cases, but it’s like hearing that the guy who date raped you and put you in the hospital with broken ribs brought flowers and chocolates and took his next five dates to the opera.”
Maybe only in the week when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade could I find good news in catching a pandemic disease. After all, the most permanently entrenched and least politically responsive branch of government has just in an ominous way rejected any Constitutional protection for a person’s right to control what happens to her own body. Many other of our hard won freedoms are now also in jeopardy. On top of that there was other bad news in spades involving natural disasters, climate change, international and national politics. But the much less lethal effect of COVID, as is being demonstrated in our case and those of millions of others, is good news that I’m choosing to celebrate.
WHAT’S AVAILABLE THIS WEEK:
EGGS: $5/doz Plentiful
Fresh horseradish root: $4/lb.
Garlic chives (flat leafed): $1/bunch
Oasis (small white salad) Turnips $3/bunch
Shiso leaves, $1 for 10
Fava beans are flowering, should be ready in about 2 weeks
LAMB COMING: Lamb is ready. Because of the COVID isolation, pick up will have to wait til next week.
Email us your order at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know when you’d like to pick up your order. It will be put out for you on the side screened porch of the farmhouse (110 Lasher Ave., Germantown) in a bag. You can leave cash or a check in the now famous pineapple on the porch table. Because I’m now here full time, we’re abandoning regular pick-up times. Let us know when you want your order any day between 10 and 5, and unless there are unusual circumstances we’ll be able to ready it to your convenience. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call or text at 917-544-6464 or email.