I haven’t posted for a while because like everyone, I’m reeling from recent events. I lost it completely when a colleague, who’s always been a step ahead, posted on Instagram the names of the children and adults murdered at Robb Elementary School. This was a few days before news outlets had done the same. It’s uncomfortable, as a writer, to be at a loss for words, so I’ve had to live with that for a while. Not that I was sitting back and letting it roll over me, but just that I didn’t know how to share what I was feeling, rage mostly.

It’s hard to share grieving, and it’s hard to work through despair about Uvalde and Ukraine, about food insecurity and starvation, about the Supreme Court and the fear of participating in public life. It’s hard to unravel the narrative in your head that keeps you from finding moments of joy.

I’ve recently moved to a place close to the bay and close to the train tracks; closer than when I was a child—thought I was used to the sound of trains, but these are loud! I have a roommate, who is gracious and kind. This has helped me settle in to new routines, and find the time to walk every day, even though I should be spending more time sorting through the boxes I’ve deposited in the hallway.

At least once a week, I walk four miles (round trip) to the grocery store, which is a joy in itself, being able to walk to a place where I used to drive. This week, however, I discovered that the resident of a house on a corner lot had planted four jacaranda trees, which are now in bloom. The trees are small, not yet as tall as the power lines overhead, not nearly as tall and broad as the jacaranda tree at my old elementary school. That jacaranda tree practically engulfed the far side of the playground, and on bright, sunny days, we were allowed to eat lunch beneath its glorious spread of purple blossoms. Not sure why we didn’t eat there every day, but I have a distinct memory of eating, somberly, on benches that lined the school rooms—perhaps that was on sunny but cold days.

And most wonderful of all, the resident has not swept up the blossoms, but has instead allowed them to carpet the sidewalk. Whoever you are, I love you!

I love all of you, too, and I wish you joy.