twenty-twenty-one falls easy on the ears. the softness, in part, might be in its numerical oddness; evens have always felt hard-edged and unforgiving to me. in black jack, twenty-one is a lucky number. maybe this year will be a winning one, a year to celebrate and remember. with luck—and numbers—some of the conceited losers bent on greed and grift, apathy, deceit and bigotry will fade in the rearview mirror and become nothing more than a bunch of pathetic has-beens. maybe 2021 will shape into one of hope and light, unity, decency, honesty, selflessness and, perhaps most of all, justice.

as in every year, i hope for my son to outgrow his seizures. maybe this year will be the one. he's doing pretty well—seizing less, walking, sleeping and acting better, practicing using the potty and getting in and out of his bed with less help. despite the pandemic and its limitations, life is easier than when calvin was little, back when there was so much dread and angst, sleepless nights and weeping. he'll be seventeen in february; my body, heart and mind have felt every last minute of it. in our case, time has not flown by. but that too has its advantages.

michael has shoveled snow only once so far, and we've had two complete thaws. it's always good to see the green. hopefully it will be a mild winter. at the fields yesterday, i saw a blue heron flying low and graceful. i wonder why when i spot them they're always solo. when they take off, where do they go? a bunch of ducks paddle and squawk in a pond half iced-over. smellie would love to sink her teeth into those soft bodies. iridescent feathers everywhere. a chain-link fence keeps her from getting to them. they don't know how lucky they are.

it'll be forty years since i graduated high school. perhaps i can gather with some alumni to celebrate this summer. seattle is gorgeous june through september. i have so many loved ones living there—some from childhood, high school, college, plus a couple I met while living in san francisco.

the backyard garden is shaping up to be glorious. better than ever. the rhododendrons are encrusted with buds. the evergreen azaleas, whose buds appear later, show promise. as always, i have hope for an early spring. for this west-coast gal, spring—and 2021—can't come soon enough.

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