Hibernation is hard. I don’t know how bears do it.

Over the past two weeks I went to Walmart once, because little sister needed a pair of shoes for outside play and I had no idea what size she would wear. We spent one warm and wonderful afternoon in Limrock, fishing and wading the creek. Other than that, we mostly stayed home (with the exception of fifty trips to various drive-thru eating establishments to stave off total depression).

It seems like all of this COVID stuff would have to end sometime. I want to feel hopeful now that there are vaccines, but I still can’t seem to spot the light at the end of the tunnel.

Last week I ate my troubles away. I’ve gained four pounds since Christmas. I think I’ll have to make a trip to the thrift store soon if I want to keep any sort of sanity about myself. I can’t imagine how people who have actually been deeply affected by COVID are feeling.

I’m brainstorming ways to fight the blues. We bought a crawfish trap for our ditch. We caught one big crawfish, one baby one and a tadpole. Then I figured out that you could catch minnows and baby crawfish all day long by just dipping a bucket in the water and the excitement of the trap wore off.

I built a toy raft for the boy to play with, and I’ve also decided that we are going to build a log cabin playhouse. I’m scared of chainsaws tough, so it’s slow going using only a little handsaw. All I’ve managed to do so far is cut the limbs off of some trees my dad had already sawed down. I haven’t managed to get my saw all the way through a live tree yet. The wind, however, did knock down two trees in my yard over the weekend, so there’s that. In a “Little House on the Prairie” book I read that Laura’s dad built them a cabin in one day, and I’m starting to think the book exaggerated the swiftness of that construction, or I misunderstood. I’m going to need some help with mine, and it’s still going to take a while.

I got my seeds in the mail last week, so I’m already looking forward to spring. And today, we spotted another strange cat in the field. I do hope it doesn’t come to our house though, because I caught the orange one using the bathroom in my herb garden the other day.

Alabama’s COVID death toll is 7,688 as I write this. I can’t make myself understand how there are people out there who have accepted this fact or learned to live with it. Sometimes I sit around and try to think up ways to make things better. I think I come up with some pretty good ideas in my spare time, and so I guess I just can’t understand why people who are in positions of authority haven’t managed to come up with anything better than what’s been offered so far over the past year. Thank goodness for the people who developed the vaccines.

I don’t think there is anything I can do about this that I’m not already doing. So, I guess I’ll just keep my eyes wide open for that light and hope the end of the tunnel hasn’t caved in. And, in the meantime, I just read that Jack’s is fixing to start serving chocolate gravy. Something to look forward to I guess.

Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at danielle.w.kirkland@gmail.com.

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