I wrote this in the depths of January 2021. Tomorrow my girls will start what may be a semi-normal school year, drifting in the ebbs and flows of Covid, hopefully dodging the worst of it.

Yesterday my daughters’ remote school class started virtual recorder lessons. Not only that, when one of my children couldn’t find her recorder from last year, Ms. Lincoln, the music teacher dropped off two new ones, one for each sister. My husband summed up recorder class with one word as I walked in the door: “TWEEEEET.” It was as loud and shrill as the class must have been. The class, of course, took place in the middle of his work day.  

Today was the hardest kind of day for me. I had to stand by, helpless, while Covid stole expectations from too many people. The virus infiltrated lungs and set off storms of inflammation inside frail bodies. My voice broke as I explained this to stunned families.  

Once home I scoured myself under the hot shower. I felt an uncomfortable tingling in a ring around my lower face as if my mask was still there, even as I tried to rid myself of this day. Then there must have been air in the pipes because I heard a screeching sound. It stopped and started; it had a rhythm to it. In a moment of silence I heard peals of laughter until the screeching started all over again. 

The pipes were just fine. It was the recorders I was hearing. I lost myself in the awful, beautiful noises. I let myself imagine a time, maybe just months from now, when children blow into recorders together, in their currently empty school. My patients will have hope again. Covid will lie dormant while life blooms as it used to.