A troll showed up on the blog last week which was, as always, an odd experience. I started to respond to its comment, and then paused, reread the comment, and clicked the Spam button instead. Good-bye, troll.

But I was thinking about it afterwards, in the way that one does, and it occurred to me that what I felt was actually pity for the poor troll. That troll, whoever they are, is a person who is so wounded, so in pain, that they seek out opportunities to be unkind. Not just take the opportunities that show up in life — the moment when another driver does something stupid and a little road rage makes you want to give them the finger, or that impatience at a long line that lets you be abrupt to the cashier instead of polite — but to seek out moments in which to be mean. To actually spend your time and energy to go out of your way to leave a rude comment on a blog, to be unkind to another human being. I can’t imagine what it feels like to live with that kind of negativity. Or actually, I can imagine it and it just looks awful. Like living with the flu or in chronic pain, only a spiritual, emotional pain. If you are hateful, then you are full of hate, and then you have to live with that feeling. Ugh, how awful that would be.

I never hated anyone before finding out that a friend (now, obviously, ex-friend) was enough in touch with my son to know that he was alive and well and reading my blog, and didn’t care enough to share that information with me. As far as I had any way of knowing, he could have come down with COVID in the early days of the pandemic and died. He might have been hospitalized or in jail or living on the street, homeless or hungry or suffering. I was living with that pain and uncertainty and fear every day, and she… well, she wasn’t. I still hate her fucking guts. I will never forgive her. But I don’t live with that on a daily basis. Every once in a while, I touch the thought. It’s like poking a bruise. Yep, still hurts, still hate her fucking guts. But that’s really it for the negativity I live with. A little, teeny-tiny part of my being still tied to that feeling, and a bigger chunk of my being that lives with the grief of loss and estrangement, and then the majority of my being… well, pretty happy. Content and easy-going and kind and really quite sorry for people whose hearts are nasty. That troll has to live with itself. What a fitting punishment for a troll.

Speaking of COVID, though, I never mentioned on the blog that I came back from Oregon and my allergies began kicking my butt. I had a couple days of an intensely bad headache, and I finally decided that it was a sinus headache, and upped my allergy drugs. The headache went away but the congestion moved into my chest and I developed just a phenomenal allergic cough. It got so bad that I started taking Benadryl — my own nuclear weapon for allergies — and then, of course, the side effects of Benadryl left me exhausted and sleepy and feeling like my thoughts had to work their way through molasses to reach my mouth or fingers.

Really, it was all so miserable that I started thinking maybe I can’t live in Arcata during spring. Then Suzanne came home from her trip, I started feeling better, she started feeling sick, and she took a COVID test. Positive! I took one, too, and mine was negative, but I’m pretty sure that was because I was recovered, not because I’d been right about allergies. Today is the first day in almost three weeks where I took Sophie for a walk and didn’t feel exhausted at half a mile. I’ll be taking another test before I get on a plane to Florida on Wednesday, but I expect it’ll be fine. It says something, though, that headache + cough + general malaise did not = maybe COVID? to me. It crossed my mind, sure, but not in a way that inspired me to actually take the test. Oops.

Despite her case of COVID, Suzanne decided about ten days ago that it was time to get rid of potential skunk habitats in the backyard, aka piles of wood. Every morning since, she’s lit a fire in the backyard fire pit a little after sunrise and we’ve had our morning coffee fireside. Such an excellent morning routine. A couple times we skewered sausages and ate grilled sausage for breakfast and this morning we baked potatoes in the coals, but mostly we just had coffee and played Spelling Bee and chatted and rewarded dogs for sitting quietly. A fire is a great way to start the day, especially, I suppose, if what you’re looking for is some nice mellow, peaceful energy with which to begin your day. It wasn’t great for inspiration — I didn’t rush away from the fire every day to add another 2000 words to my WIP — but I enjoyed it. All the skunk habitat is gone now, though, so our fires are over for a while.

Our roses are just beginning, though. Eons ago, back in those early pandemic days, I said I wanted roses by the tiny house wall. Sadly, the ones we tried to grow from cuttings didn’t make it. In 2021 and 2022, we were too busy with puppies to try again. This year, however, Suzanne planted rose bushes along the wall back in January and they have been thriving. Much to my delight, the first flowers are now blooming. Yay, roses!

a yellow rose