Sometimes it’s the little rituals of our lives that hold us in place when we feel most ungrounded. And sometimes you have to be to be ready to modify those rituals, or make some new ones.

So, two old rituals yesterday, and one that’s fairly new for us.

Church in the morning, though we gather outside now. I miss the music, but I like hearing the birds. I even kinda sorta like the passing motorcycles, because this wouldn’t be New Hope without them.

Then home to a breakfast my father used to make: fried tomatoes, sprinkled lightly with brown sugar, with a pile of bacon on the side. Because my dad fried the green tomatoes that never got around to ripening in his garden, this was the only time of year he made that meal, and though I like to indulge myself with red ripe tomatoes, I only make it in September. Because.

Then, in the afternoon, we were off on what has become a new pandemic ritual for us: a long drive in the country. The object is to follow pretty backroads, preferably some you haven’t seen before, get to someplace nice where you can get out and stretch your legs, and get back home before you need a bathroom break. We headed out through Hunterdon and Mercer counties in New Jersey, stopping for a short walk at the Herrontown Woods Arboretum near Princeton, cursed the fact that we couldn’t stop on impulse at a favorite restaurant on the way home, and called it a day.

Sometimes the way ahead seems so unclear, and sometimes the sun comes right down out of heaven and traces the path for you.

But for some reason, we crossed the creek in the picture and turned right. It turned out fine. Next time, though, I’ll bring my boots and my walking stick.