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Leaving Our Lairs, Hopefully

June 10th, 2021 by dk

I’m not one who uses the word “hopefully” very often. Hope is a high order of consciousness and it shouldn’t be separated from its pronouned agent. As a sentence adverb, it slathers a situation with hope, rather than assigning hope to any individual. It’s no less passive than “God-willing” but far more tolerated.

Wordsmithing prudes like me allow the word to remain only because it retains an important purpose, however seldom employed. And so I say, without chagrin except from habit, that Oregon is hopefully exiting its pandemic quarantine. We cannot be certain the move won’t require quick or eventual reversal, but we are full of hope.

We hope that future generations will seek our stories from the past 14 months as unique and exotic. We hope what we endured does not recur. We hope the lessons learned individually can be applied to whatever awaits us. We might even hope that society is better for the disruption that is ending soon, is ending finally, is ending hopefully.

Historical recreation dramas often include a scene where the main character is leaving a place. The protagonist only intuits what the audience knows — they will never return. So they pause, looking back at what they are leaving, engraving a mental image. That’s us, now, hopefully reviewing where we’ve been because it’s not where we’re going.

Unless you have young children or other rambunctious animals, you’ve probably built a lair for yourself over the past year. Describe it in detail to somebody else so that its memory might be captured — a shrine, a tableau, a fixed point in a world that promises to begin turning again.

Over my decades of weekly ruminating, I always typed at my desk unless I was traveling. Even then I would try to replicate the same posture and pace. I sat on telephone books to keep my elbows arched as normal, my feet flat on the ground, my chest leaning forward. Those kinesthetic signals somehow informed my fingers and my brain to focus.

But a year ago I taught myself to write from my oversized chair, legs crossed at the ankles, watching the comings and goings on my quiet street. The table to my left is piled high with reading to be completed. Scribbled notes are strewn on a smaller table to my right. I sit between them like an oversized desktop gnome, perched between the in-box and the out-box.

My electric tea kettle sits in a corner of the left-hand table, simmering all day. My mug of warm comfort emits a lazy steam, barely in my visual frame to the right. Phone and iPad charge on the left, Daytimer always ready to the right. I’ve been sitting in this spot for hours every day, for months on end. You probably have something similar.

Apart from the phone ringing or the cat getting restless, there have been very few  interruptions. For a while I kept my nail clippers on the leftward table. Time traveled that slowly. But now, hopefully, the pace will accelerate. I’m ready. I hope you are too.


Don Kahle ( writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at

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