An upgrade to the Mask and Thoughts of Quad Mom # 399 | Opinion

Happy new year everyone. Hope you had a pleasant holiday and were able to exchange gifts and eat all the fig pudding and share the specialty of the season. I am certainly grateful this year to have someone to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and rub my feet – that special someone with whom to share the existential terror of the daily news cycle.

Tucked away in our stockings this year were COVID-19 rapid tests and N95 face masks. “We should tell kids that the test kits are quick. I said as I got the swab ready to pierce Jay’s sinus cavity.

“It’s heartwarming,” Jay said, placing his swab sample in the tester. “It’s almost romantic. It reminds me of a pregnancy test. Oh, the nervous anticipation.

“I remember. You kept asking if it was a boy or a girl,” I said.


This was of course not the case. We were just kidding, super because of the candy cane cookies.

Jay was getting ready for dinner with his family. Everyone pre-tested and wore masks and practiced social distancing. Did they know how to get carried away for the Christmas season, or what?

I didn’t feel up to it because I felt weird carrying my portable oxygen and having conversations with a tube in my nose. I’m still recovering from COVID-19 pneumonia. Well, that’s not quite right. I always feel weird; large gatherings confuse me. One Christmas, my mom slipped me on one of her pain relievers to relax me, and I ended up singing German folk songs with my grandmother. In German! I didn’t even know I spoke German, let alone that I sang folk songs.

I’ve seen articles in Vogue and Glamor advertising N95 face masks online – which types are best, how important fabric leveling is, how to prepare for the new variations that are surging into the market. population. I feel bad now that I wasted my money on trendy and fun fabric face masks. What the hell was I thinking? I bought mermaid cat footprints and diva tributes, as well as a Tyrell Corp owl logo. Maybe when these deadly viruses turn Defcon blue or green, we can wear the old masks – the ones that match our outfits. Or something.

It’s debatable at this point anyway since I avoided leaving the house. Between The Snow-pocalypse and omicron AND my oxygen tank, the outer plaza seems to be triple stacked against me.

Jay teases and says “what are you saying? Either way, you never go outside.

“Well, sure. But now I don’t even have a choice. I mean, it’s probably worse,” I said.

A shining feature of the New Year is that I have started a new job writing a column for High Country News called “Heard Around the West”. It couldn’t be a nicer concert of writing. Because while the rest of the Daily News Crews research and report on disasters and climate change, car wrecks and COVID-19 deaths, I’ll be scouring the internet for stories that make people laugh. readers. Stories that inspire joy. Stories that elevate the human condition. And it really couldn’t be a better way to ring in the New Year – with some sort of resolve to keep some space for joy. Which will be an intentional practice, a routine.

So let me leave you on this: one story I followed concerns Grand Teton’s griz mom, Quad Mom # 399 and her four cubs. She was tagged at birth in 1996 and over the years has given birth to three different sets of triplets in addition to her current quad. She is the mother and grandmother of two dozen bears. Photographs of her and her current offspring show them foraging on public land through Grand Teton Park, Teton National Forest and in the Elk National Refuge. Cameras recorded the family wandering around downtown Jackson Hole.

I spent three summers and early falls in the Teton Valley and seeing these bears would have been akin to a religious experience depending on whether I was in the car or in the open field.

I will continue to think of those bears, snug and asleep in their den this winter. Just like I’m tucked away and warm in mine. I’m glad they don’t have the daily news or Twitter updates to care. But I also hope that they will stay out of trouble and have enough to eat.

Midge is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and was raised by wolves in the Pacific Northwest. His essay book Bury My Heart by Chuck E. Cheese was a finalist for a Washington State Book Award. She enjoys composting and dashing walks in the dewy meadows. Midge lives in Moscow.

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