This year is entirely a surprise.
Philadelphia will not be like any prior visit.
An old friend might be moving back into her place if it has sufficiently decontaminated.
The cousin with whom I used to stay is seriously ill.
Another cousin is full up, hosting guests.
A kind friend has just offered me amazing hospitality while I'm in Philly.
A Chanukah party is happening right after I arrive---first night.
An appointment at Wills Eye Hospital is happening last day, just before I leave.
I bet my friend the astrologer would have something to say about the pervasive disarray.
A chicken soup is ready for a guest shabbos afternoon. It tastes slightly different, as if it had a mind of its own and has gone off on its own experiment.
An unexpected (veggie) dinner at the Chinese restaurant with kind friends nourished both body and spirit, with leftovers enough to add character to shabbos dinner or robustness to an omelette.
MIshka is curled up on the desk beside my right arm, purring very delicately in her sleep.
Inspiring: I will go upstairs now and see if I can do the same.
It is a harder state to enter without my beloved to spoon with, to say the bedtime prayers with.
But the bed itself has retained some of that quality of blessing; it apportions bits out to me when I most need it.
Good night, and good shabbos----