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Writing

Seeing the Light

Onions starts under a grow light.

A few onion sprouts poke toward the grow light from channel trays resting on a heating pad. Planted Jan. 20, more of them should germinate soon and rise up. I check them multiple times each day. Successfully growing them is not a given.

We are a distance from working in the garden. Tuesday I cleared a deep snowfall from the driveway in case we have to get out. A neighbor plowed a two-foot berm left by the snowplow at the end of the driveway. We are well-provisioned and can stay home for a while, that is, unless something happens. I would enjoy visiting friends over coffee in town. But for the coronavirus pandemic I would.

Joe Biden has been president for a week. Already he ramped up COVID-19 vaccine distribution to bring an end to the pandemic. News reports say if his actions are effective, we could see the end of major risks of the virus by the end of summer. Partly, it’s why we elected Biden.

Tuesday was a good day for research on my book. I found a historian who used information and artifacts about my Minnesota ancestors to write about Polish immigration. While I printed copies of historical documents when I visited Lincoln County, his work pieces together a story I couldn’t see on my own. He tied together the locations where my Polish ancestors lived in Pennsylvania, Chicago, LaSalle County, Illinois, and Lincoln County, Minnesota with a specificity I hadn’t found previously. His work gave context to their lives in a way I couldn’t see when I visited the home place and surrounding farm community. His short article presented a believable picture of life at the end of the 19th Century that informs understanding of my family history.

For the last few years I’ve had trouble reading. When I visited an ophthalmologist at the University of Iowa clinics, years ago in the before the mobile device era, he identified a condition where my eyes don’t always focus together, resulting in a kind of double vision. Over the years I’ve gotten used to seeing double. Before he identified the condition I wasn’t aware of seeing double. I improved my reading ability by sitting at my writing table with eyeglasses on, instead of reading without glasses in bed or in a recliner. There was more at work than slight nearsightedness. Reading earlier in the day at my table has been more productive. While I wear bifocals and have specially made eyeglasses for desktop computer use and reading, my sight is pretty good. For that, I’m thankful as I read a lot, Now maybe I can read more.

It is another day in the time of contagion. I look forward to the gardening season, yet while there is snow cover, indoor work continues.

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