Zuihitso is a Japanese literary genre consisting of fragmented ideas, experiences, observations, environments, and such, all randomly woven together. I’d never heard of it until I happened upon Khadijah Queen’s False Dawn, where she writes of her early months of the COVID pandemic.
Drift like a cloud? How perfect for my meandering mind. How fitting for this unforgettable year.
So, as I put Adunate’s 15th year in business and this extraordinary 2020 in the rearview mirror, I give to you a zuihitso. Don’t get too excited, I lead a rather mundane life. Mostly, it’s for me. I want to remember this time of quarantining, family, baking, wearing masks, customers, new ways of marketing, nature, coming together…ah, yes, I’m drifting.
Wolf Moon (January)
I always love the fresh start of a New Year. I’m basking in the second heating of my home office and planning Adunate’s 15-year business anniversary. I’m proud I’ve stuck with the same thing this long—amazed, actually. A baby is born! My granddaughter, Juliana, and she is beautiful. God is so good and we are blessed. I present the workshop Marketing Your Uniqueness at the Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) Convention. One attendee feels the local, organic food movement is passé, says there is no profit in it, people are moving on. Snow, lots of beautiful snow!
Snow Moon (February)
I cancel coffee with my sister because her kids are sick. She jokes about Corona and I think she’s referring to beer. My real estate clients come for a website preview, funny ladies and they like my pie. It’s our wedding anniversary. I love Sheboygan! Arriving at dusk with snow falling, our 1848 B&B greets us with welcoming lights. Cozy Italian restaurant with a view to the snow-quieted street. Aromatic bakeries with hard rolls straight from the oven. I write a marketing post about sense of place. A graphic designer friend from my Michigan hometown wants me to update the content on her website. She’s a go-getter in her community. We host a birthday party for our grandson. He’s now a big two!
Worm Moon (March)
In the first week, I visit a 95-year-old friend in living in senior care. I ask her children if I can bring my 2-year-old granddaughter. Of course, they say. In the second week, I help serve communion at church. I’m instructed to wear plastic gloves and space the cups across the table. In the third week, church is cancelled and live-streamed on Facebook. I’m amazed how fast they put this together. I’m proud of the Christ-like concern they show for people’s welfare. In the fourth week, Wisconsin schools close. Businesses shut down. Non-essential travel is limited. Yet Madison and Watertown exist in two different pandemic worlds: one progressively reactive, the other conservatively slower to respond. My weekly babysitting gig stops and my children hibernate with their children. I tap my maples for syrup. My copywriting client puts our project on hold, many of her customers have closed their businesses and she doesn’t have the cash flow. She asks if we can revisit the project next month. March Madness has taken on a whole new meaning.
Pink Moon (April)
My dining room becomes collage of color as I sew face masks. It’s my birthday and we do porch visits. It’s hard not to cry. I miss my kids terribly. I miss my grandchildren even more. Glen’s coworker shows symptoms of COVID, but tests are not yet available. Because Glen had close contact with him, his employer requires he quarantine for two weeks. We joke that it’s our precursor to retirement. Our Easter dinner for two is special. We do a Zoom Easter egg hunt with the kiddos. We hope by Mother’s Day we’ll be getting back together. The whole world is baking bread. There’s no flour or yeast anywhere. Sourdough is all the rage. My mutual insurance client cancels its annual meeting, later date to be determined. My real estate ladies and I zoom a tutorial (zoom has now become both a noun and a verb). We’re getting good at this.
Flower Moon (May)
Our annual Mother’s Day brunch becomes a Zoom with the kids and a porch visit with my in-laws. I kayak with my son and 2-year-old granddaughter. I don’t arrive until they’re on the water. She looks confused, like she doesn’t recognize me. My son says it’s the sunglasses but I know it’s because it’s been so long. She and I splash each other and laugh. Afterward, I stay on the water until she’s loaded in the car. Driving away makes me sad. We attend a Zoom birthday party for my 3-year-old granddaughter. Coordinating candle-lighting, singing and blowing them out is an all-new challenge. George Floyd is killed by a cop who knowingly kneels on his neck. BLM. White supremacy. News media. Everyone has exploded. Asparagus and rhubarb are ripening. They’re a reminder that though the world is in chaos, there’s a season for everything. A peaceful promise of spring. God is still in control.
Strawberry Moon (June)
My granddaughter and I walk State Street, Madison. The boarded up windows-turned art murals are amazing. Poignant messages, beautiful art, documents of history. We discuss BLM. Her caring heart warms my heart. My garden is sprouting. Every day we eat strawberries and lettuces. Each week my restaurant client changes her website to accommodate the COVID restrictions. I feel for her, she’s working so hard to keep her doors open. My favorite Fermentation Fest is still a go—yessss! We start an advertising guide and maps. So much planning, even for a COVID-restricted event. CSA farmers are having a heyday. Everyone wants healthy, local food. Farmers markets are figuring ways to accommodate social distancing and safe shopping. Families are spending good time together. We’re calling it The Great Pause.
Buck Moon (July)
It’s my summer of zen. The sun rises at 5:15 and my hands are in the soil. I sit with my bees, watching them come and go, working together. I walk my prairie with my arms outstretched. Glen mows a labyrinth for me in the hayfield. Fourth of July and my mother-in-law’s birthday. An 85-year-old can’t forego seeing her family and we go forward with hosting our annual picnic. Yet, it’s quieter than usual. I can load my kayak and be on the road in 15 minutes. Everyone is kayaking, hiking, biking, camping, anything outdoors. A school principal contacts me about doing a logo. I’m booked through mid-October and we’ll re-connect then. I’m about half way through a teacher conference project and it’s cancelled. Fermentation Fest project is in full swing. Our grapes are doing so well, yet I must do everything organically possible to keep Japanese beetles from lacing the leaves. Bugs or no bugs, a vineyard at dawn brings peace to the heart.
Sturgeon Moon (August)
Arms raised high and jumping in triumph. Fermentation Fest guide is OFF TO PRESS! We escape to Trempealeau on the Mississippi for Glen’s birthday weekend. Kayaking. Hiking. Dining alfresco. The slow life of the Mississippi is renewing. The water still flows. The birds still soar. The sun still rises and sets. I start my friend’s website content. She exemplifies the Pandemic Pivot with her new laser-etched Michigan mugs and wholesale accounts. Another of Glen’s coworkers has COVID, has actually tested positive. This time there’s no company-mandated quarantine for those exposed, just a simple warning of “stay home if you feel sick.” Cucumbers are few. Tomatoes are plenteous.
Corn Moon (September)
I hand pick and sort grapes at 24 brix. It was a very good year, as Frank croons. Forty-four quarts of juice and two carboys of wine. September means school. My daughter-in-law is teaching virtually from their dining room. My granddaughter is learning virtually from her bedroom-now classroom. She celebrates her 10th birthday with her friends on Zoom. For Adunate, September is delivery month—Fermentation Fest guides, that is. From the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan, everyone is intrigued by our event. They’re tired of COVID. They want to be outdoors. They want autumn to bring change. Glen and I wrap up September with an overnighter in Wisconsin Dells. We kayak on the Wisconsin River and drive the Fermentation Fest Art DTour. Both are divine.
Harvest Moon and Hunter’s Moon (October)
Two full moons this month, yet another anomaly for 2020. Trump tests positive for COVID. Wisconsin has the third highest COVID count in the U.S. More and more of Glen’s coworkers test positive, yet he stays healthy. Michigan militia are arrested for an attempted coup d’état of their governor. People argue incessantly on social media. Everyone is just so ANGRY. My garden is in full harvest and canning lids are nowhere to be found. Nowhere. Glen and I retreat on our annual Octoberfest Brewery Tour. Since Canada won’t let us in, we cherish Lake Superior’s seclusion in MI, WI, and MN. It’s beautiful and so very peaceful. Returning home is an abrupt reminder of how lax Wisconsin is in its COVID care. Just wear the dumb masks, people! I zoom with my new school client. The principal describes this semester as a day-to-day challenge to keep his school open. A Blue Moon for Halloween. The culmination of a crazy, crazy month.
Beaver Moon (November)
The weather is glorious and I’m still harvesting from my garden. Cabbages and arugula prove we’re resilient up here on the hill. Glen now has to work weekends so I’ve set a solo hiking goal. Seventy degrees in Laphap Peak! We celebrate my granddaughter’s 3rd birthday via Zoom. I present a marketing workshop, Create a Media Kit, for WFAN. My first virtual conference and goes smooth as silk. Technology and our skills have progressed immensely in nine months. Elections. Biden defeats Trump. Trump doesn’t concede. I’m driving country roads and come to an intersection congested with Trump flag-flying pickups. Men are standing around with guns. Driving through them is unnerving. I attend Edible Start-Up Conference, also virtual. I’m inspired by the innovative ways food entrepreneurs keep their businesses going and generously help others. Thanksgiving is an intimate, overloaded affair for two. We zoom with our kids and eat leftovers for a week.
Cold Moon (December)
My hometown has become a COVID hotspot. My daughter-in-law tests positive, thinks my son brought it home from work. So thankful hers is a very mild case. I’m normally a loud advocate for shopping local. Now I boycott stores that refuse to practice COVID safety. I do my Christmas shopping online. We zoom our annual potica party. I work to finish projects by year end; one, appropriately, is a history book for Forward Mutual Insurance Company. We look for the Christmas Star on Winter Solstice but the night is cloudy. Our Christmas celebrations are digital and memorable, a livestream of Christmas in Lake Country and zoom with our kids. Sorry COVID, even you can’t take away Christmas joy! We cut wood. We take a road trip. We snowshoe. We quietly welcome 2021 at home with good food, a toasty drink, and the love of each other.
Last Call for 2020
It’s been quite a year, this 2020. As we say adios, let’s remember the good times more than the bad. Let’s focus on the better people we’ve become and how we’ll carry this forward into the new year.
May God bless your 2021!