The fog wafting around in the back yard and down our street, and those water drops that hang like tiny globes at the ends of the tree branches, give this first Daylight Savings Time Monday morning a dreamy softness. I appreciate that softness as a counter to the morning news that I turned on while I made coffee. The television has already been silenced; the continued stories of so many people disregarding the opinions of so many more and allowing that to be demonstrated with violence was not how I wanted to start my morning. Or my week. Bah.
I spent a large chunk of the weekend in my car driving across Wisconsin. My husband is from Oconomowoc, a small town between Madison and Milwaukee. It’s closer to Milwaukee, close enough that we drove there on Sunday morning to poke around at the UW-Milwaukee campus. My daughter and my nephew both had an interest in what the campus looked like – Abby because she’s considering graduate school, Sam because he’s considering everything now that he’s a sophomore in high school. My husband, brother-in-law and younger nephew all went along for the ride, wandered through the student union which was empty not just for Sunday but for spring break. The campus was a little eerie in its emptiness. The steady drizzle didn’t help. But we went anyway, then wandered through the surrounding neighborhood, found grocery stores and fast-food places and apartments.
Our conversation was full of what-ifs. What if Abby went to grad school there? Where would she live and would she be able to have a car? Her uncle joined in with the offer of getting together every month for a big run to the grocery store so she could stock up. Sam was quiet, which is his nature. He hasn’t started his official college campus tours yet. His younger brother waited until the whole conversation was over and we were almost back to Oconomowoc to ask why we went to the campus. Eleven-year-olds have the best mechanisms for disconnecting from the conversations that swirl around them.
The five-hour drive back home for my husband, Abby, and me was pretty quiet. Mick and Abby slept while I drove. I’m often the driver in our small part of the family; I love to do it, love the way my thoughts unfurl while I’m on the highway. This time, I thought about the next round of changes that are looming: Abby’s college graduation in another year, my nephew’s high school graduation the year after that, my granddaughter’s entry into kindergarten this fall. These kids are are moving around in this world that we, the elders, have tried to be responsible for, tried to shape into a place that people actually want to live in and be part of. This morning’s foggy presence, for all its welcome softness, reminds me that things aren’t clear most of the time. But the rapidity with which changes seem to come into our lives can be cushioned sometimes with these little moments, these breaths, these kids who think about their futures and the younger ones who remind us that they aren’t ready to leap ahead yet.
I hope the fog lingers this morning. And the silence, with the occasional interruption from our neighborhood crows, is lovely.