ronny

QUARANTINE GRATITUDE — DÍA 8

I have 27 first cousins... on my mom’s side. That side is mostly women—highly attractive, compassionate, intelligent women who love to have a good time, but will whip you in line if you deserve it. Insanely, this entire side of the family uses a single WhatsApp group that is full of all the things families share: laughter, suffering, love.

In contrast, my dad’s side is smaller and mostly dudes, but we’ve got mighty genes: We’re all gunning to be at least half the man my grandpa was, who fought in WWII, worked in a mine his whole life, built his family’s home with his own hands, and lived to be 101.

All that extended family is scattered across the U.S., Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and beyond, but right here in the Bay I’m also surrounded by family. Tíos, tías, primos, primas—literally numberless. My immediate family is here too: An older and younger brother (they’re alright) plus, by law, four sweetheart sisters. And in spite of pop culture‘s warnings to the contrary, I get along well with my in-laws (so far!) and those two people who gave me life and raised me, mama and papa.

Hoy estoy agradecido por la familia.

QUARANTINE GRATITUDE — DAY 7

Love, whose beauty snares.

Love, whose strength staggers.

Love, whose truth strikes down the foolish.

Love, whose compassion lifts the fallen.

Love, whose eyes in silence fire missives.

Love, whose hands serve delicacy and confection.

Love, whose river runs with mine, wanting only this: to be at peace, freely flowing to the sea.

Today I’m thankful for Natalie, my love.

QUARANTINE GRATITUDE — DAY 6

There were plastic-wrapped sausages and pumpkin waffles. Someone danced in the living room, someone else traded cryptocurrency. Suddenly, I was heading east on California Ave, walking, walking, walking. In the financial district, a hawk snatched a pigeon, flew up to a traffic signal, and ripped its flesh. People took photos, people walked quietly by, people lay in the streets, people stood in line for food. I floated to the bay. At the pier, a middle-aged woman in gloves and a mask picked up other people’s trash. A middle-aged man jogged along the waterfront, blasting Missy Elliott. Miguel de Cervantes was giving beach tours. I had had enough: I wished I were comfortably back home, but first I had to scale a steep hillside dotted with thousands of simple white gravestones—a military cemetery. Who had won the war?

Somewhere between death eternal and the fleeting death of orgasm lies a middle-sized unconsciousness, hours of blackness buttressed by dreams, whose visions terrify us, inspire us, and prepare us for the surrealism of waking life.

Today I am thankful for sleep.

QUARANTINE GRATITUDE — DAY 5

One night, when I was a kid, I woke up, walked to my parents’ bedroom, and, wheezing, said I couldn’t “cough.” I was whisked away to the emergency room and plugged into a machine that vaporized my breathing back to normal. As an adult, I‘ve mostly outgrown my asthma, only experiencing a mild resurgence every spring—so I feel fortunate.

We all know the spectrum of health. The one friend who never gets sick, and the other who dodges deadly allergies daily. The fellow student who successfully masks their skin disorder, and the colleague who cannot hide their chronic illness, dying too young. The baby who comes into the world with a broken heart, and the baby who fights on, a warrior for life. The person with a physical disability but brilliant mind, and the person (picture perfect in public) sitting on the edge of the bed sobbing, weighted down by depression.

We all live, we all suffer, and we all die. But until then, I am thankful for clean air, clean water, fresh food, modern medicine, health professionals, and everyone and everything else that make this most precious thing possible: health.

QUARANTINE GRATITUDE — DAY 4

I live in a tiny, one-bedroom apartment. The view is not great. The carpet is various shades of brown. We used to be able to keep our bicycles in the garage, but the landlord told us to stop, so now there’s a bicycle blocking our bookcase. Two, maybe three people can eat in the kitchen at the same time. This is San Francisco, and we only moved in two years ago, so we’re definitely paying too much.

But this is my home. We‘ll gladly cram 10 people in the living room for brunch. For overnight guests, we have to rearrange our living room furniture like tetris, but we’re happy to do it because it’s our space. It’s where I breathe my air and drink my water and kiss my wife and slip into nightly slumber. It’s where I play music too loudly: And since aforementioned wife is the only one to have complained about the noise, the neighbors sure are nice. We can walk on tree-shaded trails to the beach in less than 30 minutes, and the weekly farmer’s market, blocks away, is also a blessing.

So today I’m thankful for my house and home.

QUARANTINE GRATITUDE — DAY 3

I hate taking photos of food. Because I’d rather be eating it.

Salt. Olive oil. Vinegar. Honey. Onion, garlic, shallots. Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme. Beans, rice, oats, lentils, pasta, polenta, tortilla, bread. Peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, pistachios. Mushrooms. Orange, mandarin, apple, apricot, peach, plum, pear, cherry, blackberry, strawberry, banana, grape, lemon, lime, watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, kiwi, mango, papaya, passionfruit from miles away. Lettuce, spinach, kale. Avocado. Celery, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, olives, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bok choy, asparagus, peppers, plátanos, pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes. Cheese, cheese, cheese. Cream, butter, yogurt, eggs. Sardines, herring, anchovies. Salmon, trout, tuna, swordfish, mackerel. Chicken, duck, turkey, pig, cow. Sushi. Teriyaki. Smoothies. Sopa de res, gallo pinto, nacatamales. Pho, miso, udon, ramen. PB&J. Pizza, sandwiches, burritos, tacos. Donuts, ice cream, pies, cookies. Gyros. Tapas. BBQ. Chili. Curry. Dumplings. Stir-fry. Fried rice. Insert ➡️😛

From the produce we harvest to the animals whose lives we take to the people who do the lifting and killing and harvesting and packing and shipping and delivering and prepping and cooking and serving, today I am thankful for food—and you.

QUARANTINE GRATITUDE — DAY 2

Almost every Sunday, my dog and I go to church. That is, we walk to the ocean.

I call it “church” not just because it’s a Sunday ritual, but also because it’s a reminder to express reverence and adoration for our place of birth. Life on this planet started in the ocean. And, in a sense, we never left: Covering 70.8% of the Earth’s surface, the world’s ocean is inextricably connected to the rest of the planet’s bodies of water through an infinite process of evaporation, condensation into clouds, rainfall, snowfall, fog drip, lakes, rivers, and groundwater all returning to the ocean.

You, in your body that’s 50% water, are a part of this too. Every time you work a sweat, every pee break you take, every glass of water you drink—it’s all just drops in the planetary bucket.

So, today I’m thankful for water.

QUARANTINE GRATITUDE — DAY 1

Take a deep breath.

Nothing feels better. That breath means you’re alive.

It’s easy to take for granted any of our daily pleasures and privileges—maybe a home-cooked meal, a conversation with a good friend, a favorite song—but there’s none we take for granted more than the moment-to-moment oxygen that keeps us alive. It’s breath that keeps our hearts beating, our brains thinking, our organs working, our muscles moving.

And so, today I am thankful for air.

in the morning when the blinds are still drawn only half conscious and my wife has already put on her jeans but not yet covered her breasts i open my eyes and smile gazing like a miser weighing immeasurable wealth

i sit up in bed breathe deeply and pick up a book of poems to read—the dog won’t understand but still she sits there.

MASS

if you make it past the single anxious intersection a half-block from my house, past the tennis courts and bouncy castles, and past the stranded sunday picnickers, you’ll find

the trail that winds around the mountain lake, the concrete trail dusty that takes you through the wood, under the underpass, around the base of the hill where the coyotes make their dens, up the wooden stairs to and through the sandy, windy outside lands—

the trail that crosses another road to a foggy eucalyptus wood, descends unevenly down and around gnarly grasping roots, sweeps in wide sunlight with wide panoramas of sleepy city neighborhoods, clambers over massive fallen trunks, and across a quiet parking lot—

the trail now faint that gasps across two last road crossings and laughs w crazy wonder at the sight of the sea, goes galloping into the expanse, gusts of wind leaving blisters in the sand unconscious of weddings, tourists, genitals, gulls playing chicken w the canines crows, pretentiously strutting apart little children feeling for the first time with their bare toes the vicious waves, pacific waves foamy, freezing exfoliation, a reminder of the terror of life and the joyous fact that one day we’ll all be together again.