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Book Group

We are back. We’re out again. And book group is so ready to meet!

You know book group. The microcosm bound together by a book a month. Or maybe wine. There’s the smart one, the funny one, the loud one, the long winded, the silent, the hugger, the one who makes everything political. The one who never reads the book, the one who reads the book half way through and wants to leave before we get to that part of the book in our discussion (but never does, in fact, leave). There’s the one three books ahead who can’t remember the main character’s name of the current book.

I have been each and every one of these characters on any given book group night.

Last night we discussed Twilight of Democracy by Anne Applebaum. And we were excitable. We had been cooped up too long and we were ready to talk.

Somebody was saying something about Poland pre-Duda, or maybe Trump, or maybe ranting about friends who were friends last year, but who we are not calling this year.

But something outside the window got my peripheral vision and I couldn’t concentrate.

Did anyone see that?! It was BIG!

The group moved to the window, wine clutched in hands.

We have “coywolves.” Or so the neighbors have been texting. Some giant, frightening wolf and coyote hybrid. The lady next door, from Honduras, was fascinated and started to research. She has spotted a pack of three such creatures in her back yard several times…roaming into my yard.

Supposedly they are nasty. Supposedly they eat small dogs and neighborhood cats. We see piles of bunny fur everywhere when we walk now. And the stories get bigger and bigger. We drop the ball on reason. We don’t go out at night anymore.

But at the window, the hugger laughed and pointed, and I saw a very big, fluffy brown bunny. It hopped back and forth a couple times, then settled in at the viburnum, chewing like a teenager with gum.

We couldn’t get back into Anne Applebaum. We were done. The half-way reader was glad; and so was I.

I want to get back to soft words like this rabbit’s fur. Fluffy and warm words, like the marigolds we planted around the viburnum that were supposed to keep rabbits at bay.

Words like hope, I’m sorry, tenderness, it’s possible. Words that make me ready to be grateful again. Can we have a time now when beautiful words are “all that?”

We sat back down and someone spoke about a recent disappointment. She apologized, said “so sorry - didn’t mean to bring the group down!” And this group, God love them, did not throw out the stupid phrases strangers say;

Oh, but you seem so strong!

Oh, but you have such a great sense of humor!

Oh, but don’t you know when God closes a door, He opens a window!

No, this group, real friends, opened another bottle of red. The hugger moved in to put her arm around a shoulder.

This is what we have missed. To get off track and to look into each other’s eyes. To read smiles. To watch and know when to move in for a hug, and to be able to surrender the last tooth-picked cherry tomato, basil and mozzarella to a friend in need. To be able to open mouths wide and laugh whole heartedly.

The Coywolves are at bay when we are together. We are back.

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