Signs and portents

Comets used to be seen as bad omens. It is hard for me not to see the appearance of comet NEOWISE in the age of the pandemic in the same light.

Cases continue rising all over the country, even here in Massachusetts. Our so-called president has limited the ability of the CDC to report on the progress of the disease. He is also trying to reduce funding for testing and other pandemic relief. If he were actively trying to kill Americans (I am not sure he isn't) he wouldn't do anything differently.

We still haven't heard anything about what the new school year will bring. I am very conflicted about it. On the one hand, the kids are going stir-crazy and are very lonely. They desperately need peer engagement and teacher attention. On the other hand I want to keep them, and us, safe. There's lots of talk about kids being lower-risk for transmitting the virus, and lower-risk for severe infections, but the risk is still out there. And of course if school does go to an online-only model, I am not sure what we will do about keeping them engaged with the school curriculum - we are both working full time and really can't take time to police online learning. (Synchronous online classes will be better, but I still worry about how well it will work.) For me concerns about safety outweigh concerns about the kids falling behind, but I worry about their development regardless.

Meanwhile we went out to the ocean to look for the comet last night. It had seemed like a clear night, but just around the time when it should have been visible the cloud cover rolled in. We could see the big dipper, but everything lower than it towards the horizon was obscured, so we came home defeated. It was a long drive too, so we were all pretty tired this morning. Tonight is supposed to be clear, so we might try again closer to home.