Hello again, world…


Yeah … it’s been a while. I’m sorry about that.

Look, it’s not that I stopped caring about you. Actually, I talked to you every single day, inside my head. But when it came to writing my thoughts down … I kept getting stuck. There was always just too much, you know? And some of it was so LOUD – first during the interminable build-up to Election Day, and then in the ongoing aftermath. Bad enough to feel anger and disappointment and anxiety constantly ramping up inside me. Worse to feel angry and disappointed at some of the people closest to me – and worst of all when those feelings, as happened all too often, bubbled over in a toxic mess of words and tears and bitter silences.

And then, of course, there’s covid. I guess I should be embarrassed to admit this – a lot of people have died, and are still dying all over the world, and many of the survivors are still experiencing aftershocks, and of course there’s the economic devastation … but this is one place where I choose to be as honest as possible, and so I’m going to admit that on a personal level I haven’t found living through a pandemic too great a hardship. Only a few people I care about got sick, and none of those is experiencing ongoing problems. Having to wear a mask sucked, but that’s over now for us. The stimulus money got us comfortably over a hump that we’d been laboriously climbing for years.

homer simpson snow GIF

The hardest part – the part I’d have written about, if I’d wanted to add to the noise – was the endless stupid. And even that has been useful, in that it’s given me an excuse to distance myself from people I had ceased to find congenial. I mean, when someone you love takes a dismaying political stance, that can be hard to accept. One wants to feel in sync with one’s tribe, after all. But if you work at it, you can quite often explore your differences, maybe find points of harmony. Or you can agree to disagree, and move on to talk about other things. Disagreements over covid are different. Essentially, either you’re Q, or you’re anti-Q – there’s no meeting of the minds. Sometimes love is enough and you can slide around the issue (while maintaining a safe distance, because that shit might be contagious, people!) Other times, the only cure is full-scale social distancing, wielded like a scalpel to radically reshape your social circle.

The thing is, I didn’t want to blog about any of that. There were already plenty of opinions out there … I had no value to offer, and I didn’t want to add to the noise. But it has felt impossible to write about anything else. The noise, both inside and outside my head, has been so loud I couldn’t hear the cricket-like chirrups and yawps of my small but particular life long enough to catch them and pin them to a page.

Hence, only two posts in the past 18 months.

And oh, I have missed this so much! Every day the small events of life – the challenge of persuading a cow to stand still for artificial insemination, the delight of a new calf, chicks raised and a chicken killed by an over-excited Malinois and hens that trip you up trying to sit on your feet when you go out to feed them. The deep-down joint-aching suckiness of getting old, and strategies for avoiding the alternative. Estrangement from a dear friend and then news of his death. Encounters with homeless people and what happens when you let their peculiar brands of nuttiness into your life. Rescue, of course – dogs, and occasionally cats, that break your heart or your bank balance, and others that make your heart sing. The death of a beloved but long distant cousin and the sheer impossibility of knowing what to say to the people who grieve his loss. Encounters with the Black Dog – who is not permitted to dominate this space, but can’t be ignored if I’m to write my truth. Stories written, books read, movies watched, and weird shit found in my news feed. Gardens planted and the endless war against weeds. Experiments in the kitchen. The fundamental oddness of being married to a hubbit.

So much to yawp. Most of it so trivial … I can’t understand why anyone would want to read it, and yet, for all that, I want – I need – to write it.

So … hello, World. I’m back, I think. Is anyone out there?

Graphics sourced from Giphy.com.

Author: Belladonna Took

Well into my second half-century and still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. Born South African, naturalized American, perpetually at risk of losing my balance and landing ass-first in the Atlantic.

16 thoughts on “Hello again, world…”

  1. I continue to be in awe of your beautiful and eloquent writing. Please write more. So few have this gift – I wish I did! I’d like to think if I did, I’d write all the time, but maybe not. I felt like I was living through the last few months with you as I read this entry. Your experience was so similar to my own in terms of the divisiveness we experienced in this country during 2020. Hope your 2021 is off to a better start.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Valerie!

    Yes! So glad you are back. Many lessons in all the craziness. As you eloquently write, not all pleasant, but the ones that didn’t break your heart – and even some of those, were illuminating.

    I have narrowed my world considerably and feel as though if I can keep my little corner of it together, that is good enough.

    I have had some health challenges – that old age makes recovery more challenging – but I have also been richly blessed and I am grateful. Missing Wally is an every minute presence, but I am not morose or depressed.

    I am so glad to see your blog again and hope there will be more frequent posts!

    Utah is scary dry! It is awful. Praying for rain most sincerely.

    Love to you,


    On Wed, Jun 23, 2021, 5:25 PM American Soustannie wrote:

    > Belladonna Took posted: ” Hey. Source: Giphy Yeah … it’s been a while. > I’m sorry about that. Look, it’s not that I stopped caring about you. > Actually, I talked to you every single day, inside my head. But when it > came to writing my thoughts down … I kept getting stuc” >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, Val!

    Lovely to have you back. I’ve wondered how you were doing. The village is a bubble but we’re not unscathed. Economically, or from the virus, or from stupidity. I ranted. A lot. At the beginning. Now, I’m just soldiering on and taking refuge in writing about food. And the stuff around that. It’s comforting. Like food. The Husband hits three score and ten plus five in a week or so. That’s occupying my mind…

    Look forward to more of your posts as and well.

    Best to you and Mr Took.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Fiona! I’ll be checking soon in for a good long read of your blog and to get myself caught up. I’m a lazy cook but you make me aspire to better things – and when aspiration has turned to actual effort, the results have been pretty damn good! So good to be back in contact with you.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad you didn’t unfollow me … I was afraid I’d have lost readers (I mean the real human ones that one doesn’t want to lose) and it’s great to know you’re still here. Will be checking in on your blog pretty soon, just to get caught up!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Maggie – you lasted longer than I did, though! I’ll be doing some catch-up reading of your blog pretty soon, and hope you’ll be back before too long. Meanwhile … hang in there. The noisemakers have to get tired eventually … right?

      Liked by 2 people

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